Striking Farmworkers Reach Settlement with Kentucky Tobacco Grower

KY settlement meme

On November 2, seven tobacco farmworkers signed a settlement agreement with Wayne Day, a tobacco grower in Paint Lick, Kentucky, ending their almost month-long strike. For the past three years, the workers came from Mexico through the H2A guestworker program to work for Mr. Day who systematically cheated them out of the minimum wage. With the backing ofFLOC, the workers initiated a strike on October 11, 2017, refusing to return to work until Mr. Day agreed to pay them back all stolen wages. The FLOC members negotiated a settlement this week totaling $20,000 of back wages and attorney’s fees!

KY settlement meme

Thank you to everyone who showed support to the workers during their strike! Community allies from across Kentucky visited the workers on a regular basis to deliver groceries and clothing. And many supporters in Kentucky and across the country donated to a strike fund to help the workers financially during the strike.

Cristian Santillan, one of the striking workers, said, “We didn’t know we were launching the first tobacco strike in recent Kentucky history but we got the grower’s attention by doing so, and we are glad that with the help of FLOC, he was pressured to pay us much of the wages we lost over the three seasons of underpayment.”

Now that the workers have received their stolen wages, they are planning to return to their families in Nayarit and Hidalgo, Mexico. Two of the strikers, Adolpho Osorio and Francisco Gonzales, have had babies born to their wives since they left for this grueling tobacco work.

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Adolpho looks forward to meeting his newborn daughter

FLOC will continue to visit tobacco farmworkers in the area to encourage more workers to speak out against abuses. Click here to support FLOC’s organizing efforts in both Kentucky and across the South!