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Farmworkers’ Union Sues to Void N.C. Law Limiting Workers’ Rights

November 22, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

North Carolina’s Farm Labor Organizing Committee filed a suit Nov. 15 challenging a state law that sharply

Farmworkers are fighting hard for fairness in North Carolina.

restricts union activity in agriculture. The law, an amendment added to an annual farm bill last summer and signed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, prohibits farming operations from settling lawsuits with unions, such as agreeing to recognize the union. It also bars them from collecting union dues from workers, which the suit says is damaging because many farmworkers are immigrants who don’t have U.S. bank accounts. The suit, filed by FLOC, two workers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, alleges that the law “imposes legal disabilities and disadvantages not imposed on other workers or unions in the state.” The amendment’s sponsor, state Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Warsaw), is a farmer who said the restrictions were needed to stop “predatory folks” from out of state “getting people to be dissatisfied.” “Politicians that are also growers shouldn’t pass self-serving laws simply because they don’t want their workers to unionize,” FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez said in a statement, calling the measure a “continuation of Jim Crow-era laws that aim to stop a now almost entirely Latino workforce from organizing.”

Read more here.

November 22, 2017

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