In Solidarity

posted February 10, 2009

Solidarity between farmers, farm workers, farm families and farm neighbors.

Please take a moment to send an email to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, asking him to take a stand against modern-day slavery in our food system: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Governor_Crist_stand_against_slavery

Background
Just this past December, farm labor supervisors were sentenced in federal court for enslaving tomato pickers, including beating, chaining, and locking them inside a truck at night. Unfortunately, this case is not the only one; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has successfully prosecuted seven cases of slavery involving well over 1,000 farmworkers in Florida. Additional cases are currently under investigation.


Furthermore, those farmworkers who are not enslaved face sweatshop conditions every day. Workers earn an average of only $10,000 per year and have not received a real wage increase since 1978. They have no right to overtime pay, no benefits of any kind and no right to organize or collectively bargain.

When a reporter called Florida Governor Crist’s office about this most recent slavery case, the governor declined to comment and instead passed the call off to the spokesperson for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Terrence McElroy, who gave the impression that one slavery case per year is somehow no cause for alarm.

For decades, the silence of Florida’s governors in the face of the brutal exploitation of the state’s farmworkers has allowed that exploitation — up to and including modern-day slavery — to persist.

Join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community-based farmworker organization, and consumers nationwide in telling Governor Crist that now is the time to break the silence and ensure that this latest slavery case is the last slavery case ever in Florida’s fields.

Click here to take action: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Governor_Crist_stand_against_slavery