May 17, 2013
With profits comes responsibility for labor conditions
Farmworkers and their supporters turned out in full force on May 9 at the Reynolds American 2013 Shareholders Meeting. At one of the largest and most energetic events since the beginning of the campaign, over 300 people including labor, clergy, students, and community allies rallied and marched through the city calling on Reynolds to do more than just talk with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO).
At a rally following the march, speakers pledged continued solidarity and support until the campaign is won. “When clergy, students, and workers get together like we have today, we are a powerful force, and we bring a powerful message…shame on Reynolds!” said MaryBe McMillan, Secretary-Treasurer of the NC AFL-CIO. “If they want to lay claim to the profits that come from farmworkers’ labor, then they need to claim responsibility for labor conditions.”
FLOC President’s report by Baldemar Velasquez
“Last week’s demonstration was one of the largest and most energized I’ve seen since we started this campaign. I can still feel the excitement of the crowd. Over 300 people came out to the Reynolds Shareholders Meeting, including our union brothers and sisters, clergy, students, and many other community allies.
Inside the shareholders meeting, Reynolds executives tried to push off our questions and fumbled over the tough ones, like how to ensure human trafficking does not exist in their supply chain. One thing was very clear: this movement is getting stronger every year.
Next week I will be meeting with Reynolds again, and pressing them to work with FLOC to set concrete next steps to improve conditions for farmworkers. Talking isn’t enough anymore.
As we head into the summer and continue to organize with thousands of tobacco farmworkers across NC, I need your help to keep the momentum I felt last week going.
In June, I’ll be performing with my band, Aguila Negra, in both NC and OH to raise funds to support FLOC’s ongoing organizing work. Will you join me in this effort by becoming a sponsor for the concert?
$100 Silver Sponsor
$200 Gold Sponsor
$300 Platinum Sponsor
$500+ Underwriter for Justice
Click here to donate online, or you can mail a tax deductible donation to our partner organization, CMWJ, at 1221 Broadway St. Toledo, OH 43609.
Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 15 at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Duham, NC.
I can’t thank you enough for all you did to make the Shareholders Meeting a huge success, and for keeping that momentum going as we continue in our struggle for justice.
Hasta la Victoria!”