This is a good way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
Toledo, Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) president Baldemar Velásquez and Arturo Rodríguez, president of the California-based United Farm Workers (UFW), will mark the opening of FLOC’s Monterrey office as the first concrete step in a ground-breaking Sept. 16, 2004 agreement between FLOC and the North Carolina Growers Association covering 7,500 Mexican guest workers who labor in that state’s fields.
It is the first time legally imported immigrant farm workers have been unionized under the U.S. government’s existing H-2A guestworker program. Under provisions of the contract, FLOC will oversee the applications of more than 7,500 Mexican farmworkers requesting visas to work in North Carolina .
The FLOC office in Monterrey will inform Mexican workers about their rights under the H-2A program and enforce their seniority and recruitment rights won through the new agreement with growers.
FLOC members will be the only H-2A guest workers entitled to file complaints through a grievance procedure that protects agricultural laborers and lets them quickly resolve their concerns. Grievances may also be filed in México during the off-season.
FLOC and the UFW are also chief proponents of the AgJobs bill in the U.S. Congress (S. 359 and H.R. 884) that would allow undocumented farm workers to earn the right to permanently stay in the U.S. by continuing to work in agriculture.
Senators Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 10, 2005 . Last year’s AgJobs measure was cosponsored by 63 senators, including many Republicans.