The State of Migrant Tobacco Workers

Sep 18, 2011

A new report released yesterday takes a close-up look at the state of workers in North Carolina’s tobacco fields.

The report – “A State of Fear – Human Rights Abuses in North Carolina’s Tobacco Industry” was produced by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and Oxfam America.  It includes interviews with migrant farm workers, mostly undocumented and representatives of the tobacco industry.

Baldemar Velasquez is president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO. He says the only way to better the lives of the tobacco workers is for industry to step in.

Baldemar Velasquez:  "And so if they can compel suppliers and people in their supply chain to certain standards, certainly they can guarantee human rights, certainly they can guarantee worker’s ability to feed, and educate and clothe their own families."

He says meetings are being planned with tobacco industry leaders in hopes of improving worker conditions just like in previous gatherings with companies including Campbell Soup and Mount Olive Pickle. tAB