There will be a meeting on November 15th or 16th between faith leaders and executives from Reynolds to discuss our faith leader letter. Please make this a matter of prayer.
Late last month, Reynolds responded to the Faith Leader Letter to British American Tobacco which NFWM co-sponsored. Their response was through R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company by Chris Dixon, VP Leaf, and included the following, “Mr. Jobin requested that I write on behalf of R.J. Reynolds to accept your request for a meeting. Consider that, as a matter of policy, BAT and R.J. Reynolds agree with you: Employers must not retaliate against workers for exercising their rights, including their right to freedom of association. The real work is in designing processes and programs to prevent, identify, and address violations of worker rights. Built into these processes is the concept of continuous improvement, and improvement requires feedback from stakeholders. We look forward to hearing your views on these issues; appreciate the chance to describe our present supply chain responsibility program; and we welcome any feedback you might have to offer.”
Two things to note about the letter:
1. BAT wants to be sure we understand that it is Reynolds with whom we should engage but that they are directing Reynolds to accommodate us.
2. They agree that farm workers deserve freedom of association and the right to organize without retaliation.
Let’s be clear, BAT is not taking responsibility directly, and Reynolds has put FLOC off for a long, long time rather than specifically addressing tobacco farm worker rights themselves. We have to hold them accountable.
At the upcoming meeting, the co-conveners will meet with Reynolds executives to discuss this. For more background, go to Faith Leader letter to support tobacco farm workers.