Three FLOC members are currently being sued for defamation in retaliation for supporting and actively participating in union activities. These are staunch anti-union activities and an infringement on these women’s rights to participate in the democratic election process. These members are single mothers, sole providers for their families, and immigrants of varying statuses. FLOC remains steadfast in supporting these women and we are asking our allies to do the same.
Background: These women became members of FLOC’s base organizing committee in Virginia to pursue unionizing efforts at regional jobsites to secure better wages and standards for their families. As organizing ramped up in Virginia and more women and men became involved in the movement and joined the union, there was a concerted effort against these three specific members to try and force them to not attend the constitutional convention and to resign from the union. These three women faced harassment, intimidation and thinly veiled threats concerning their immigrations status. Consistently opposition members warned the women that they should not attend or vote at FLOC’s convention, because they were certain there would be a federal investigation into the election that would result in the government going through every single voter, checking their name, address, and occupation. The purpose of this type of misinformation was to threaten that if these women participate in a democratic union election, it will result in a high level of scrutiny from the U.S. government, a threat any person with precarious immigration status would not take likely. Still undeterred, these women stood strong and began speaking out against the threats and harassments they were facing and urging their community members to get involved, join them at monthly meetings and attend FLOC’s convention. In response, the opposition has decided to take these women to court and sue them for defamation.
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 unacceptable 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 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.
Join Us: We are having a rally on July 9th at 2pm in Martinsville, Virginia to support the three women. We will have transportation for supporters in both Toledo, Ohio and Dudley, North Carolina. If you are interested in attending, please email email@example.com. Find our more about the rally here.
Take Action: We are calling on our supporters and allies to take a stand against these injustices. Support these three members by sending in a statement of support, here is draft language, or by donating to their legal defense funds here. If you are sending in a statement of support, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org