Thursday, February 2, 2023

Play

Palestinian advocates praise a new fact sheet on discrimination, Pennsylvania considers extending deadlines for abuse claims, and North Dakota's corporate farming debate affects landowners and tribes.

Play

Vice President Kamala Harris urges Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House begins the process to impeach the Homeland Security Secretary, and the Federal Reserve nudges interest rates up.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Ohio Farm Workers Still Shut Out of Federal Labor Protections

Play

Tuesday, September 13, 2022   

An organization defending the rights of thousands of farmworkers in Ohio and other states is creating its road map for the future.

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee recently held its 14th Quadrennial Convention in Northwest Ohio.

Baldemar Velasquez, president of the committee, explained one major challenge is farmworkers are not protected under the National Labor Relations Act because they are not defined as employees. Some experts suggest Congress wanted to protect the family farmer from the effects of collective bargaining in the 1938 law.

But Velasquez argued it was actually to appease segregationists.

"President Roosevelt needed the Southern Dixiecrats to vote in favor of the law and their condition was (to) keep agricultural workers out because most agricultural workers were Black, and they didn't want Black people to have the same rights as white people," Velasquez asserted. "We've been living with that racist legacy ever since."

Velasquez noted while Black laborers were the group most impacted at the time, now most farm laborers are Mexican Americans and Mexicans. While there are no federal protections, 10 states -- not including Ohio -- allow farmworkers to collectively bargain for employment conditions.

Union campaigns making headlines recently, such as Starbucks and Amazon, have a legal framework for organizing. Velasquez said the committee has the daunting task of creating independent contracts with manufacturers through private agreements.

He explained they are currently campaigning with the RJ Reynolds tobacco company with the understanding most of its farming suppliers are very diversified and grow a variety of crops.

"If we get a concrete agreement with the tobacco manufacturer that'll spill over into other companies that farmers supply, like the Mount Olive Pickle Co.," Velasquez stressed. "It might take us into the realms of dealing with the Walmarts and other major retailers."

Velasquez contended competition from other countries marginalizes the people at the bottom of the food-supply chain. He added if protections are not in place for the men and women who harvest fruits, vegetables and other crops, the future of the nation's food supply is in jeopardy.

Disclosure: The Farm Labor Organizing Committee contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families, Rural/Farming, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Protestors at the University of California-Berkeley demonstrate in support of student groups that passed a bylaw pledging not to invite pro-Zionist speakers. (Palestine Legal)

Social Issues

Groups fighting for Palestinian rights are praising a new fact sheet on religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for …


Social Issues

Lawmakers and immigrants-rights activists in the Commonwealth are hoping to pass the Language Access and Inclusion Act, which would dramatically …

Environment

New U.S. Department of Agriculture rules will target fraud and increase oversight of the $64 billion-a-year organic food industry. In Iowa, the …


While mortality rates for pregnant women have decreased globally, they continue to rise in the United States, with Black women three times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women. (Inez/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News …

Health and Wellness

With Black History Month underway, Wisconsin researchers and support groups are highlighting the disparities in cases of Alzheimer's disease…

Environment

Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage …

Social Issues

A measure in the Washington State Legislature would provide free school meals to K-12 students, but nutrition service workers are worried they are …

 

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