By Samantha Grant
On July 18th, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) of North Carolina assembled in Raleigh to protest Farm Bill SB 615, a bill recently signed by Governor Roy Cooper.
The Farm Bill prohibits farmers from organizing as well as creating and financially supporting unions. FLOC claimed that this bill violated their First Amendment freedoms of assembly and speech.
“We plan to challenge this bill in the courts, as a violation of farmworkers’ rights to freedom of assembly and speech and to continue our fight for better wages for immigrant families in the state,” said FLOC president, Baldemar Velásquez.
Another anti-union bill which would eliminate payroll deductions for all unions was incorporated into SB 615, after it failed to pass on its own due to push back from union members.
The Farm Bill also prevents workers from negotiating with farmers, and has come at a time where FLOC has made a lot of progress due to the rise in the number of migrant workers.
“This type of abandonment of immigrant workers is nothing new from the Democratic or Republican parties. We’ve been excluded from every labor law reform since the racist exclusion of farmworkers from the National Labor Relations Act in 1935,” said Velásquez.