The Farm Labor Organizing Committee Sues Governor Cooper on Behalf of Farmworkers, Saying a New State Law Is Discriminatory | Food
Food
INDY Week's food blog

Archives | RSS

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee Sues Governor Cooper on Behalf of Farmworkers, Saying a New State Law Is Discriminatory

Posted by on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 9:24 AM

click to enlarge FLOC president Baldemar Velasquez and protestors of SB 615 at a Raleigh press conference in July. - SAMMY HANF
  • Sammy Hanf
  • FLOC president Baldemar Velasquez and protestors of SB 615 at a Raleigh press conference in July.

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee filed a lawsuit this morning against North Carolina governor Roy Cooper over a state law that prohibits farmworkers from organizing and collectively bargaining with their employers.

According to FLOC’s press release, the lawsuit argues that “North Carolina Farm Act of 2017 impedes farmworkers’ First Amendment right to participate in unions and asserts that the law is discriminatory, as more than 90 percent of the state’s agricultural workers are Latino. The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the government cannot impose special burdens on expressive associations such as unions.”

Joining the lawsuit are civil rights organizations Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the North Carolina Justice Center, along with lawyer Robert C. Willis and two individual farmworkers. FLOC is the state's only farmworker labor union.

In July, Cooper signed Senate Bill 615, making it illegal for farmers to deduct voluntary union dues from their workers’ paychecks and prohibiting workers from reaching a legal settlement as part of a union agreement.

Sponsors of that bill include state representative and former Duplin County farmer Jimmy Dixon—who, in an October interview with the North Carolina Farm Bureau’s blog, said his legislative priorities for the 2018 short session include preventing “outside groups who want to forcibly implement policies in an attempt to unionize some of our farming operations”—and state senator Brent Jackson, who owns Jackson Farming Company and was sued by Latino farmworkers for wage theft in April 2016.

Dixon snuck the amendment into the House version of the Farm Act. It prevailed 73-42 and, as the News & Observer described it, "the Senate later approved the bill with no discussion about the union limits."

The groups are asking the court to declare the law unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They are also asking the court to grant preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining state officials from enforcing the law.

“Farmworkers provide indispensable labor to North Carolina’s economy. In exchange for their sacrifices and hard work, the legislature has repaid them with suppression of their constitutional rights,” says Kristi Graunke, a senior supervising attorney at the SPLC.

“They deserve fair compensation, humane working conditions, and the ability to remedy grievances through collective bargaining. This law swings open the door for worker abuse on every farm across the state.”

FLOC will host a press conference today at eleven a.m. at the North Carolina State Legislative Building at 16 West Jones Street in Raleigh.

The full press release is below.










Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food



Twitter Activity

Comments

Thanks so much Ciranna! Martha is a superwoman... it was a pleasure having you at Dinner this year again!

by Wendy Perry on Behind the Scenes of the Fifth Annual Dinner in the Meadow Fundraiser (Food)

David. I went back and read the article. It was truly disgusting. It represents the worst of what identity politics …

by Timothy Oswald on Friday Night Bites: The Lakewood and Scratch are Suddenly Closing, Cucciolo Osteria Is Opening, Saltbox Lands on Taste of the South's Hot List, and More (Food)

Most Recent Comments

Thanks so much Ciranna! Martha is a superwoman... it was a pleasure having you at Dinner this year again!

by Wendy Perry on Behind the Scenes of the Fifth Annual Dinner in the Meadow Fundraiser (Food)

David. I went back and read the article. It was truly disgusting. It represents the worst of what identity politics …

by Timothy Oswald on Friday Night Bites: The Lakewood and Scratch are Suddenly Closing, Cucciolo Osteria Is Opening, Saltbox Lands on Taste of the South's Hot List, and More (Food)

To be clear, I am referring to Victoria's incredibly biased negative review of The Lakewood when it first opened. Definitely …

by David Hewitt 1 on Friday Night Bites: The Lakewood and Scratch are Suddenly Closing, Cucciolo Osteria Is Opening, Saltbox Lands on Taste of the South's Hot List, and More (Food)

Congrats to the Indy Week food editor Victoria Boulabasis for her role in torpedoing The Lakewood. I am so thankful …

by David Hewitt 1 on Friday Night Bites: The Lakewood and Scratch are Suddenly Closing, Cucciolo Osteria Is Opening, Saltbox Lands on Taste of the South's Hot List, and More (Food)

Thanks for publishing the recipe! I made it for an office lunch this week. It smells wonderful as it is …

by chuck02 on Make This: Ashley Christensen's Homegrown Tomato Pie with Buttermilk Cheddar and Horseradish (Food)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation