By David Bacon, Truthout
October 29, 2012
The occupational hazards, poor working and living conditions, and low wages North Carolina's tobacco workers face result from deliberate policies, but they can be meliorated by unionization and the freedom for laborers to shop their skills around.
North Carolina has one of the lowest percentages of union members in the country. Yet in this non-union bastion, thousands of farmworkers, some of the country's least unionized workers, belong to the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). That gives the state a greater percentage of unionized farmworkers than almost any other.
The heart of FLOC's membership here are the 6,000 workers brought to North Carolina with H2-A work visas every year to pick the cucumbers that wind up in the pickle jars sold in supermarkets by the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. [...]
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