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:
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.
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.
- Make a pledge to close your Chase Bank accounts and/or Chase credit cards until Reynolds agrees to work with FLOC to find a solution to the abuses or until Chase severs financial ties with Reynolds. CLICK HERE to access the pledge form and to send an E-Fax to Chase.
- Don’t have a Chase Bank Account? You can still support the Divestment Campaign! Pledge not to bank or use a Chase Credit card!
- Organize a leafleting / bank manager action at your local Chase Bank branch. For the Chase Organizing Toolkit, CLICK HERE.