Friday, January 21, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

NC Faith Leaders to Meet with Reynolds Tobacco on Farmworkers’ Rights

Play

Monday, November 29, 2021   

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Faith leaders are urging tobacco companies to support migrant workers employed by their contract farms.

A group of clergy will meet next week with representatives from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company about North Carolina farmworkers' right to organize for better wages and working conditions without retaliation.

Julie Taylor, executive director of the Raleigh-based National Farm Worker Ministry, said advocates want British American Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds parent company, to negotiate a memorandum of understanding which would guarantee freedom of association without retaliation and ban contract growers and H2A farm labor contractors from retaliating against farmworkers.

"If they wanted to sign union cards, if they wanted to advocate for higher wages, if they wanted to organize for better living or working conditions," Taylor outlined.

In a statement responding to a letter written by faith leaders earlier this year, R.J. Reynolds said employers must not retaliate against workers for exercising their rights and appreciates the upcoming meeting as a chance to describe its supply-chain responsibility program.

Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee for the AFL-CIO, which represents migrant farmworkers in the Midwest and South, including more than 6,000 workers in North Carolina, explained migrant workers have little recourse because they have been left out of federal labor laws.

He added current North Carolina law makes it illegal for farmers to deduct voluntary union dues from their paychecks, and also prohibits workers from reaching a legal settlement as part of a union agreement.

"Based on the historic abuse, exploitation of agricultural workers in North Carolina, excluded from major labor laws that would protect them and give them the right to speak for themselves," Velasquez asserted.

He added the abuses faced by tobacco farmworkers are well-documented, including inadequate housing, pesticide and nicotine poisoning, wage theft and long work hours without breaks in extreme temperatures.


get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

 

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