Campaign News- FLOC RT

Campaign News
FLOC Reynolds Tobacco Campaign

Current Campaign News

RJR CEO Ivey earns $7.9 million in 2007 – a 24% increase – Forbes, March 24, 2008
In 2007, RJR’s parent company, Reynolds American reported earnings of $1.31 billion, or $4.43 per share. Revenue rose to $9.02 billion.
Full article

Nearly 400 FLOC supporters marched in NC, calling on RJ Reynolds to improve conditions in the tobacco fields – October 28, 2007

NFWM’s North Carolina staff provided significant logistical support in planning this successful event. Our director and two board members attended. NFWM is proud to stand with FLOC in this new campaign for farm worker justice in North Carolina. [Photos of event]

Newspaper Articles
Farm union targets RJR -News & Observer, NC – October 27, 2007
Farm workers seek better conditions – Greensboro News Record, NC – October 29, 2007
Calls for Change: Demonstrators march to Reynolds American … – Winston-Salem Journal, NC – October 29, 2007
Tobacco workers urged to rally – Mount Airy News, NC – October 26, 2007
Union That Took On Mount Olive Turns Aim Toward Tobacco Workers – WITN TV – October 28, 2007

Blogs and Other Websites
Huffington Post: A Harvest of Shame Baldemar Velasquez | Posted October 25, 2007 | Politics
Join FLOC in Fighting for Justice for Tobacco Workers, James Parks, AFL-CIO blog October 25, 2007
Justice for Tobacco Workers – by Tula Connell, October 25, 2007
March on R. J. Reynolds for Union Recognition – October 11, 2007

An energetic rally on Monday, September 24, 2007 at Lloyd Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was the first event of FLOC’s new campaign. Workers, community members and people of faith came together from across the state to join the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s call on RJ Reynolds to address conditions in the tobacco fields of North Carolina. At the event Richard Kortiz spoke about RJ Reynolds tobacco plant workers’ organizing efforts in the 1940’s. More photos (video)

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Background- FLOC RT

Background and History
FLOC Reynolds Tobacco Campaign

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States, manufacturing about one of every three cigarettes sold in the country. In 2006 Reynolds American Inc. had sales in excess of $8.5 billion worldwide. While big tobacco makes billions, tobacco farmworkers live in poverty, face racism and harassment, nicotine poisoning, lethal pesticides, staggering deft, and have hardly any labor and human rights protections.

The tragedies which occur daily in the fields are due to industry-wide problems that need to be addressed by those who have control over the tobacco market— RJ Reynolds being at the top of this list. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) is calling on RJ Reynolds to take responsibility for the oppressive conditions in which tobacco workers labor in North Carolina. Together with FLOC, RJ Reynolds can use its tremendous power to initiate changes that will improve the lives of growers and farm workers alike.

Despite several attempts by FLOC President Baldemar Velazquez and allies, Susan Ivey, CEO of RJ Reynolds, has refused to meet with him to discuss conditions for farmworkers in North Carolina’s tobacco fields.

Green tobacco sickness, commonly called “the green monster”, is simply nicotine poisoning. Tobacco workers come into daily contact with nicotine which is absorbed into their bodies as they pick the tobacco leaves. Nicotine is classified as one of the most toxic poisons resulting in weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal cramps, headache and difficulty breathing. Worse yet, it raises body temperature which increases dehydration an sickness from the intense
heat of the fields. An estimated 24% of workers have this illness each season, and workers average almost 2 days of illness for every 100 of work. Workers who complain of sickness have been sent home to Mexico.


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Take Action- FLOC RT

Take Action!

FLOC Reynolds Tobacco Campaign

Send a letter to Reynolds American CEO Susan Ivey, asking her to meet with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee to discuss ways to improve conditions for tobacco farm workers in North Carolina.

CLICK HERE to download a sample letter. Sign this letter and mail or fax it; or write your own letter and mail or fax it.

Thank you for taking action.

FLOC JP Morgan Chase Divestment Campaign

JPMorgan Chase is one of the lead banks in a consortium of lenders that provides $498 million in credit to Reynolds American, one of the largest tobacco corporations in the country. Reynolds is making billions while farmworkers continue to suffer serious human rights abuses in the tobacco fields.

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Contact us

National Farm Worker Ministry
P.O. Box 10645
112 Cox Ave., Suite 208
Raleigh, NC 27605
Email us here
919-807-8707 (office)