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Thursday, April 28, 2011

NC workers, supporters March on Reynolds

farm labor organizing committee announces

Justice for Tobacco Farmworkers
End human rights abuses

Farmworkers raise voices May 6 in demonstration at RJ Reynolds meeting

Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) labor, faith, civil rights, campus, and community-wide supporters on May 6, 2011, “will be inside and outside of RJ Reynolds’ shareholders’ meeting calling on the tobacco giant to end human rights abuses in their supply chain. …”

“In these times of attacks on working people —from Wisconsin to North Carolina,” the group says — it is crucial “to stand together in solidarity.”

March and Rally at Reynolds American Annual Shareholders’ Meeting
North Carolina demonstration detail

10:00 a.m. Meet at Lloyd Presbyterian Church
 748 N Chestnut St., Winston Salem, NC 27101

10:30 Demonstration at Reynolds

11:30 Rally at 4th and Trade Streets followed by march through downtown Winston Salem.  March will end back at Lloyd Presbyterian.

Email flocnc@floc.com if you need a ride!  Bus leaves from the Dudley office, carpools  organized from various points around the state

Bus leaves the Toledo FLOC office Thursday night, returns after the march on Friday —  Contact Beatriz Maya at 419-243-3456 ext. 6 or bmaya1@floc.com to reserve your seat

Volunteers: contact 919-731-4433 or flocnc@floc.com..

Host house meeting: contact flocnc@floc.com for more information.

Concerning its Reynolds Campaign, FLOC argues —  

“Big tobacco companies are among the richest parties in American agriculture.  RJ Reynolds is one of the largest tobacco corporations in the world, with annual profits of more than $2 billion….

“They have constructed a supply system that benefits themselves, at the expense of those who produce their leaf products. This includes both farmers and farmworkers….

“There are only a few large companies that purchase NC tobacco and they use their power to set the terms and prices for the farmers who grow their tobacco. These terms and prices directly affect the earnings and working conditions of field workers. With their wealth and industry power, companies like RJ Reynolds could be part of the solution, but have instead attempted to hold themselves out to the public as passive purchasers of tobacco.…

“Reynolds executives, who can receive up to $60 million a year in bonuses, claim to be committed to corporate social responsibility, but their list of ‘stakeholders’ excludes those at the bottom of their supply chain, the farmworkers.”


Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO) — challenging the deplorable conditions of the broader workforce that remains voiceless, powerless, and invisible to mainstream America...”

Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) Movement — began in the mid-1960s, when Baldemar Velásquez convinced a small group of migrant farmworkers in northwest Ohio to come together for their common good. Initial successes generated strong reactions in the agricultural industry, which has been structured to benefit those at the top, while exploiting those who labor at the bottom. It took several years for FLOC to build a base among farmworkers in the area.

Since then, FLOC has built a membership of tens of thousands of migrant farmworkers by incorporating two key principles:

1.     Farmworkers need a voice in the decisions that affect them—
Allowing workers to form a union and collectively bargain with their employer is the only way to address the huge imbalance of power and provide an effective structure for self-determination
2.     Bring all parties to the table to address industry wide problems —
Multi-national corporations have created a supply system that enriches its executives at the expense of those who work in the fields.
These corporations have the wealth and power to change the harsh realities that many farmworkers face.
FLOC seeks a structure where all those in the system (corporations, growers, and farmworkers)  work together to solve problems
Historically, this is the only solution that has made a real difference in farmworkers’ conditions and lives. http://supportfloc.org/aboutus.aspx“

Also in the news archived at Free Speech Radio News — “In the U.S., protesters demand better conditions for tobacco farm laborers,” April 27, 2011, http://fsrn.org/audio/us-protestors-demand-better-conditions-tobacco-farm-laborers/8427


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