HANLEY, NORTH CAROLINA – Today, a federal court in North Carolina ruled that a 2017 law signed by Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper that stripped the Farm Labor Organizing Committee of their right to collect dues automatically off the paychecks of farmworkers was illegal.
In fall of 2017, Cooper signed into law a farm bill passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that strips FLOC of their ability to collect union dues directly.
The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brent Jackson, who has faced repeated lawsuits for labor rights violations filed by FLOC for abuses on his farm. In January of 2017, Jackson was forced to settle a $100,000 wage theft suit brought by FLOC on behalf of workers on his farm in Autryville, North Carolina.
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) charged that the bill was racially discriminatory as the bill specifically targeted Latino farmworkers, who make up 90% of North Carolina’s farmworker.
Today, a federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina agreed with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee that the law violated the 14th amendment since North Carolina allows other groups of workers to have their dues deducted from their paychecks.
“We’re happy that the federal court saw clearly that this racist law was an effort to stop farmworkers from having the resources to fund their own institution and fight for a more fair workplace,” said FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez.
“Judge Biggs’ decision to enjoin this discriminatory law means that FLOC can get back to work focusing on the needs of its members,” said Clermont Ripley, staff attorney with the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project. “This is more critical than ever right now as farm workers throughout eastern North Carolina are struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.”
With over 12,000 members in North Carolina, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee has been a trailblazing union in standing up for the rights of guest workers.
Guest workers have traditionally been one of the most exploited groups as they rely on a visa from their employer in order to stay in the country…
Farm Labor Organizing Committee members and their allies rally in North Carolina (National Farm Workers Ministries)