Farm worker Union Launches Boycott Against Reynolds E-Cigarettes, Rallies Against White Supremacy

At their national convention Saturday in Toledo, Ohio, the AFL-CIO Farm Labor Organizing Committee celebrated its fiftieth year by launching a boycott of Reynold’s Vuse E-Cigarettes.  FLOC Organizer Catherine Crowe says their membership has been targeting Reynolds American and other tobacco companies for over a decade:

[Catherine Crowe]: “We see abuses in the fields in the fields in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, wherever there’s tobacco, we see a lot of violations going on: wage theft, child labor, issues with pesticides, unfair working conditions.  And when workers try to organize and speak out against those abuses, there’s oftentimes retaliation because they’re not protected.  We’ve been asking from Reynolds for the last ten years that they sign an agreement with FLOC that guarantees farm workers freedom of association, which would mean that farmworkers could come together, negotiate with their employer and not risk being fired for doing so.”

Among the other dozen resolutions passed by the farmworkers union were measures focused on immigration reform and fighting anti-immigrant legislation.  Toledo mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson joined the farmworkers union on Saturday to rally and march against racism and white supremacy:

[Catherine Crowe]: “We see immigration threats used to silence workers from organizing and for filing lawsuits and trying to resolve issues.  We see white supremacy in groups like the KKK, neo-Nazi groups and the alt-right, but we also see it in a lot of governmental policies that are being pushed right now, racist laws that affect us.  We’re seeing that DACA’s being targeted right now, and we see that as a racist attack against our people.  So, we’re marching against not just racist Neo-Nazi groups and white supremacists, but also against racist government policies.”

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