FLOC Leadership

Baldemar Velasquez
President and Founder

 

DSC_0597 (2)Born in 1947, Baldemar grew up in a migrant farmworker family based in the Rio Grande valley of Texas. Every year, his family would migrate to the Midwest and other regions to work in the fields planting, weeding, and harvesting crops like pickles, tomatoes, sugar beets, and berries. They traveled in trucks and old cars, and often lived in barns and converted chicken coops. The family eventually settled in Ohio, and Baldemar worked in the fields seasonally through his high school years to help support the family. In 1969 he became the first member of his family to graduate from college, graduating from Bluffton College with a BA in Sociology.

Incensed by the injustices suffered by his family and other farmworkers, Baldemar founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in 1967. Under his leadership FLOC has set international precedents in labor history, including being the first union to negotiate multi-party collective bargaining agreements, and the first to represent H2A international guestworkers under a labor agreement.  Baldemar is an internationally recognized leader in the farmwoker and immigrants rights movements. His commitment to justice and human dignity have led to recognition by many labor, government, academic, and progressive organizations, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (Genius Grant), a Development of People Award by the Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Conference, an Aguila Azteca Award by the Government of México, and several Honorary Doctorates from Bowling Green State University, Bluffton University, and University of Toledo. In 2009 Baldemar was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

In 2008, President Velasquez spent a week working in the tobacco fields of North Carolina. You can read his daily journal about the experience here.

To learn more about Baldemar Velasquez, the Farm  Labor Organizing Committee’s story, and current fight for farm workers, watch his interview with Bill Moyers:


 

Cruz Diaz Montalvo
Vice President

 

 

 


 

Christiana Wagner
Secretary Treasurer

Christiana Wagner Bio Pic

Christiana was born in 1979 to Baldemar and Sara Velasquez in Toledo, Ohio. She grew up marching on picket lines and organizing in the farmworker community alongside her parents. As she went through junior and senior high school, she found herself drawn to the work of standing up for those who were less fortunate and could not speak for themselves. After high school she began working for FLOC as a Special Projects Coordinator, working on organizational management and administration. She studied Early Childhood Education at Lourdes College, but ultimately decided that her heart was in FLOC’s work. She expanded her work at FLOC, taking on the accounting as well as reaching out into the community and speaking about farmworker issues and FLOC’s organizing work. In 2010 Christiana was elected to FLOC’s board of directors, and then elected as Secretary Treasurer in 2015. Christiana has a true heart for farmworker justice, and brings integrity, transparency, and passion to the organization.