Saturday, November 27, 2021

Play

Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.

Play

Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Audit: Children Working on NC Tobacco Farms

Play

Thursday, May 5, 2016   

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Children are working on North Carolina's tobacco farms – and some of them are working in hazardous conditions, according to an audit commissioned by Reynolds American of its contract farms in the Tar Heel State.

The audit company – Footprint BenchStrength – found that 40 percent of farms surveyed employing minors were not complying with federal law. In addition, a portion of those minors was performing hazardous work.

Justin Flores, vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), says this isn't just a matter of children working on family farms.

"Most of the folks talked about in the study worked with labor contractors and they're certainly not as caring and concerned for their well-being as their parents or grandparents or uncles would be," Flores stresses.

Footprint BenchStrength noted in the audit that worker housing and family labor were outside the scope of the commissioned report.

In a statement on its website, Reynolds American says the company doesn't employ farm workers or grow its own tobacco and therefore the company has "no direct control over their sourcing, their training, their pay rates or their housing."

The company regularly performs audits like this one to assess the safety and conditions on contracted farms.

Today FLOC organizers plan to protest outside of the Reynolds American shareholder meeting at the company headquarters in Winston-Salem.

Flores says it's important to recognize that questionable labor conditions on North Carolina farms go far beyond tobacco and extend to the state's food supply.

"We will see change as we continue to publicize and educate people about what's going on in the fields, reminding people it's not just tobacco, that these folks that are working in tobacco are also harvesting your sweet potatoes, strawberries, cucumbers," he states.

All minors interviewed reported having been trained in general farm safety, including recognition of heat stroke and green tobacco sickness.





get more stories like this via email

Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)

Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


Environment

HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…


Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

The mission of the 'Buy Nothing Project' is to promote the giving of goods and services within hyperlocal circles. (bfleeson/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021