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FLOC continues global fight against deplorable working conditions and corruption in the International Tobacco Sector


KAMPALA, UGANDA: On July 3-5, 2019, Baldemar Velásquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), and FLOC Vice President Justin Flores will meet with other labor organizations that represent tobacco workers around the world, to fortify strategies and policies that address the deplorable labor conditions of farm workers and corruption in global tobacco supply chains.


Velásquez will co-lead the worker representatives negotiating with employers and governments about how to implement International Labour Organization (ILO) standards around the world.


FLOC leaders believe that labor conditions won’t change simply because labor standards are set and approved of by any given country. Velásquez has been leading an effort since 2015 to collaborate with tobacco workers around the world to make sure that tobacco companies guarantee labor rights to all workers in their global supply chains.


FLOC will take advantage of the ILO meeting setting to continue discussions with international trade unions to collaborate and build organizing campaigns in the tobacco fields that can ratchet up the pressure to force companies and governments to comply with global labor standards.


“We have always believed in justice for all workers. If we aren’t helping our brothers and sisters in places like Malawi, Uganda, or Zimbabwe, then tobacco companies will gladly cut jobs in the US and go where the cheap labor is to guarantee cheaper tobacco,” said Velásquez of his efforts to support international workers.


FLOC was founded in 1967 by Velásquez when he was a migrant farm worker. Among his numerous awards, Velásquez was a 1989 MacArthur Fellow (Genius Grant). FLOC is a labor union that represents agricultural workers in the Mid-West and Southern US.


FLOC has been fighting for over ten years to pressure Reynolds American, part of the largest tobacco company in the world, to guarantee basic labor rights in their supply chain and comply with ILO standards.



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Revised: 07/02/19 20:26:32 -0700.




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