Dudley, North Carolina, March 17, 2022 – On the 23rd anniversary of the historic Mt Olive Pickle boycott, Former farmworker and union organizer Leticia Zavala today announced her run for the Presidency of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), along with an all union member slate known as the “It’s our Future Campaign.”
Continuing a national trend of labor activism and union members seeking improved working conditions in the face of a Pandemic that exposed how little the Country’s employers value human life, Zavala says: “the Pandemic highlighted how limited farmworker rights are in this country, even under union agreement. We must do better; It’s Our Future is a member-driven movement within FLOC to push for better protections for all.”
Juan, a candidate for the FLOC Board who, along with many coworkers got COVID working in NC’s tobacco and sweet potato fields in 2021 said, “It is a shame that after two years of workers dying from COVID, no real protocol was ever established in NC. This is sad for us as workers.”
Honoring the historic union contract the boycott produced that has benefited thousands of farmworkers in North Carolina, the slate seeks to build off of the lessons from FLOC founder Baldemar Velasquez over the past 55 years and craft a vision for the future that invigorates the movement and seeks improved working conditions in US agriculture.
Lety, as she is affectionately called by FLOC members, has been a fierce advocate for her community on both sides of the US/Mexico border for over 25 years, spending much of that time helping FLOC members win rights under the union’s contract with the North Carolina Grower’s Association.
The Campaign is made up of FLOC members with many years of experience fighting for better work conditions and human dignity in the fields that are seeking to take control of the future of their union.
The slate plans to bring renewed efforts to key issues affecting farmworkers in the US, including improved enforcement of key provisions of the current union contract, expanding new organizing to non-union farms in multiple states, improved health and safety in agricultural worksites, eliminating corruption and kickbacks charged to farmworkers by corrupt supervisors, growers, and Mexican government officials, as well as a stronger voice in the fight for fair immigration policies in the US.
The election is scheduled to take place this September at a Constitutional Assembly of the union membership, place still to be determined. Campaign events with FLOC members and other agricultural workers will occur regularly from April-September throughout NC and interviews and farm visits will be available for media.
For more information about this campaign and how to support it, please contact the campaign spokesperson, current FLOC Vice President*, Justin Flores, tel: 704-577-3480 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*note that VP Flores does not conduct campaign activity while working in his official capacity as FLOC VP so may not respond immediately to inquiries but will do so before/after work hours and during formal breaks.