Cross Border Organizing
After the success of the Mt. Olive Campaign in 2004, NC farmworkers won a collective bargaining agreement covering over 6,000 H2A guest-workers from Mexico, allowing the union to process hundreds of complaints, bringing a swift resolution to many problems in NC.
However, the work must be continuous as we build our union and take on new challenges, meaning that cross-border organizing has become even more crucial. “[Translated] If we want empowerment, we must keep educating ourselves about our rights and what we can do. Things have changed and they will keep changing with our support for FLOC,” said union member and tobacco farmworker Diego Reyes, during a meeting in San Luis Potosi, MX.
Each winter, FLOC organizers and rank and file union members tour Mexico, working to educate hundreds of farmworkers who head to NC every year for the agricultural season. Topics covered include: the collective bargaining agreement’s grievance procedure and seniority system, new H2A regulations, union benefits, union finances, and how the union can improve internal procedures to build its strength. “[translated] It makes us very happy that the union can accompany us here in Mexico. Communication with the membership is important because it inspires us to keep supporting unity,” said union leader and tobacco farmworker, Genaro.
In multiple cities across the country members hold meetings, facilitating trainings, discuss union growth and broader information about the state of organizing and politics in both the US and Mexico.
“[translated] We are all excited about the union. [These meetings] make us keep pushing to get our “compañeros” to also get involved in the union and seek improvements in the fields,” said Effias, a FLOC member and activist. These meetings laid the framework for the annual union leadership meeting that occur in Monterey, Nuevo Leon each spring.
We thank our supporters in both countries who have continued to support us, providing labor, financial assistance, and room and board to accomplish this important work. Hasta la Victoria!