Following a historic agricultural season, in which FLOC members used the collective bargaining agreement and grievance procedure to solve over 700 questions, complaints, grievances, and employment bids, forty rank-and-file leaders gathered in Monterrey for two days to plan for the 2013 season. The meeting was energetic and highly politicized, with a focus on building membership in the US and continuing to grow an international network of allied organizations.
On Saturday, members received updates from the union leadership on numerous topics, including proposed federal regulations affecting H2A guest-workers, as well as the most recent developments in the fight for immigration reform. In preparation for the Constitutional Convention in October, various convention committees held sessions to prepare for a series of regional meetings and committee work from July through October.
Members also broke out into various groups to discuss topics that most affect them on a daily basis, from organizing their co-workers, to workplace injuries, collective bargaining and grievance procedures, employment bids and seniority, as well as the campaign to win better working conditions by bringing Reynolds American to the bargaining table.
On Sunday, members from the various work groups gave report backs to the full group and discussion led to a number of new ideas that will be implemented in 2013.
Our brothers and sisters from “los mineros,” the Mexican mineworkers union, El Frente Democratico Campesino, a Mexican farmworker organization, as well as the Movimiento Campesino Regional Independiente from Chiapas joined FLOC members and helped bridge the gap between the farmworker movement and labor movement in the US and that of Mexico. Members passed a resolution committing to support these organizations in their struggles in Mexico.
All of the FLOC members in attendance committed to playing a key role in organizing their co-workers and building the farmworker movement in NC when they arrive to plant tobacco and sweet potatoes in April and May.