It is no secret that many Mexican families migrate and work in the fields of the United Sates to sustain themselves. The Cabrera family is no exception. Albino Cruz Bueno first came to work in the fields of North Carolina in 2004. A few years after that his son, Abel Cruz Cabrera, followed in his footsteps.
Albino, 49, and Abel, 27, are making FLOC membership a tradition in their family–a tradition they take seriously. When Abel arrived in NC for the first time, the first thing he did when he arrived was sign a union card. Their yearly visits have become not only about the struggle to make ends meet at home but also about building something of their own in North Carolina, something that would last beyond the six months that they work here.
Both father and son are active members of FLOC and both attended this year’s Monterrey Leadership Training. Albino comes early each year to work planting strawberries and then hops from camp to camp working with different growers that have work available for him. At each camp he works, he continues to organize, urging others to make complaints when the contract is not being followed and talking to workers about what FLOC does to defend their rights. “I know that as workers, we don’t have to be afraid to make complaints, we have a union and a contract to protect us.” In the 2013 season Albino was instrumental in helping solve housing grievances in a camp where workers had to wash their clothes on a stone outside their living quarters.
Abel attended all FLOC gatherings this year, including the Moral Monday protests that were happening in Raleigh throughout the summer. “It was amazing because there were people from other unions, it was good to see that people are getting organized and motivating to see that as a worker I am part of something bigger.” After attending, he kept his co-workers informed and excited about FLOC. The effects of his organizing were apparent when the workers from his camp were leaving for Mexico. “Next year, we’re signing up more people” one of them said.