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FLOC’s Velásquez testifies before U.S. Congress


In 2004, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) won a historic collective-bargaining agreement with the North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) to represent nearly over 5,000 farmworkers who travel each year from México to North Carolina on H2-A guest worker visas to harvest tobacco, cucumbers, and Christmas trees.


FLOC recently supported a federal lawsuit which, according to a FLOC press release, “dealt a blow to corrupt recruiters in rural areas of México who overcharge workers by several hundred dollars to find them jobs in the U.S.  We helped eliminate those fees for over 60,000 H2A workers.” 


Baldemar Velásquez, president of the FLOC, is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Congress on June 7, 2007, at 10:30 AM in an effort to support U.S. Congressman George Miller’s (D-CA) “Indentured Servitude Abolition Act of 2007.”


According to Miller, who is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, “Unscrupulous foreign labor contractors lure workers to the United States with promises of a better life and decent wages in exchange for thousands of dollars in fees.


“Instead of good jobs, workers wind up trapped in oppressive employment, often unable to repay their debts to recruiters or find other jobs. This is nothing short of a form of modern-day slavery, and it must end.”

Miller’s office says the legislation:

  • requires employers and foreign labor contractors to inform workers of the terms and conditions of their employment at the time they are recruited;

  • makes employers jointly liable for violations committed by recruiters in their employ;

  • imposes heavy fines on employers and recruiters who fail to live up to their promises;

  • authorizes the Secretary of Labor to take additional legal action to enforce those commitments; and

  • requires the Secretary of Labor to maintain a public list of foreign labor contractors who have violated the law and to assess additional penalties if employers use a contractor on the list and that contractor contributes to a violation for which the employer may be liable.

“For Three years, FLOC has been raising the alarm about the corruption in the recruitment process,” says Velásquez.  “This initiative by Congressman Miller is long over due, and we applaud his courage! America must demonstrate to México the higher standards expected from civilized nations.” 


For more information visit www.house.gov/georgemiller/







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