FLOC Women’s Committee

The Need

Undocumented women in the United States are the lowest paid workforce, earning 49 cents to every a $1 a white man makes, with 21% living below the poverty line. On top of discrimination, low wages, and rampant poverty, most undocumented women work in informal, dangerous workplaces. Due to the United States’ violent immigration system that tears families apart, undocumented women often become the sole providers for their families, adding additional responsibility and stress. They are one the most marginalized groups in the United States, experiencing racism and sexism, while lacking protections due to immigration status. 
Women who labor in the fields are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence and exploitation. While experiencing the same vulnerabilities of their male counterparts, women farmworkers also face sexual harassment and violence, and pregnancy and gender discrimination. According to an Oxfam survey, 80 percent of women farmworkers in the United States have experienced some form of sexual violence on the job. Often coming to the United States to work in the fields alone and being outnumbered 3 to 1, supporting justice for all farm workers requires a gendered approach. 

Chair: Christiana Wagner, FLOC Secretary Treasurer

Spokesperson: Ivonne Rodriguez, Union Member and Union Advisory Council Member

Spokesperson: Hilda Castaneda, FLOC Organizer and Community Leader

Coordinator: Bertha Gonzalez, FLOC Organizer

Campaign to Support 3 Women Union Members Being Sued

Three women in our community are currently being sued for defamation in retaliation by an anti-union group for exercising their right to vote in FLOC’s constitutional convention. These three members are all single, undocumented, immigrant mothers, sole providers in their household and strong union supporters. Due to their precarious immigration status, it is urgent that allies take action.  
Before even facing a legal battle, these women were interrogated, intimidated, and pushed to resign from the union. Resolved to not be pressured, these women stood strong, shared their stories and were active in the constitutional convention. In response, they are being sued for defamation. 

As the first order of business, FLOC’s Women’s Committee has committed to championing the cause of these three women. We understand the vulnerability and responsibility that comes with being undocumented and being the sole provider in your household. We will not stand by and allow our community members to be threatened in an effort to get them not to participate in their right to self-determination. 

We stand with the women in Virginia, not only because we staunchly believe in everyone’s right to actively participate in democratic processes regardless of gender or immigration status, but because we want the public and our community to understand that FLOC is a space for women and immigrants. It is inacceptable that women in our community, who are immigrant women of color, and in this case single mothers, feel unsafe coming to associate meetings, voting in elections, and sharing their experiences with the community. To take one of the most marginalized groups to court to face a justice system that is unkind, and to add an ever presence, looming fear surrounding immigration status to these women’s daily life is cruel and incomprehensible. The fight for the women in Virginia and North Carolina is a fight for all immigrant women and their right to participate in and lead the movement for justice and freedom of association for all. 

As a union, if we are not standing proudly and unafraid in support of those most marginalized in our community, then we are not fulfilling our mission and purpose. 

Support these three women by donating to their legal defense funds or be sharing a statement of solidarity! Here is an example statement, please send these statements to media@floc.com and tag us when you share online.