El Futuro es Nuestro arose out of an election campaign within the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). Workers covered under the first and only H2A Collective Bargaining Agreement were not satisfied with the representation of the long time president and founder Baldemar Velasquez and decided that they needed to take back the union in order for it to function as a true member led organization.
In September 2022, an election was held during the quadrennial FLOC convention in Toledo, Ohio, hundreds of miles away from the FLOC workers covered under union contract, and at the height of the tobacco cutting season. Consequently, only a tiny fraction of union-contract-covered members were able to attend the convention and vote for the leadership of the union. EFEN estimates that of the 197 delegates present at the convention, only about 10% were actually covered by union contract. (Here is a more complete estimate of attendees and voters at the convention.)
El Futuro es Nuestro lost the election, but members felt the need to continue to function as a group in order to maintain the collective protection of workers under contract in North Carolina and to push the same protections to workers outside of the collective bargaining agreement. (There is currently an internal challenge of the election for violations including: use of union resources for campaigning, use of employer resources for campaigning, intimidation, and lack of access to the convention and election process to all members covered under the CBA.)
In total there are almost 300 H2A workers, believers of collective bargaining and unionism, who understand that Baldemar Velasquez is not a democratic president capable of representing them. Therefore they have decided to go back to the basics of collective bargaining and taking on labor violations from the root.
Leadership of El Futuro Es Nuestro
Our leadership is made up of an elected Executive Committee of 11 workers: President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and eight members-at -large. Our goal is to bring our power forward to improve our living and working conditions as H2A workers and our living conditions as immigrant nationals of Mexico.
Eastern North Carolina has labor intensive crops on farms that use a high percentage of contracted labor such as blueberries, cucumber, tobacco, and sweet potato. (Sampson, Wilson, Nash, Harnett, Johnston, Edgecombe, Wayne and Duplin, Greene, and Lenoir counties)