Farm worker advocates rally in Raleigh

Anthony Wilson Image
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Farm worker advocates rally in Raleigh
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Farm worker advocates rally in Raleigh

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Advocates for North Carolina farm workers stood together outside the Old State Capitol Tuesday to speak out against a law they consider unfair.

They wanted Governor Roy Cooper to veto a bill that prohibits the collection of union dues for workers and transferring that money to a union.

Cooper signed that bill into law, and opponents say he turned down requests from labor, immigrant, and other social justice organizations to reject the bill.

A statement sent by his spokesperson said:

"While the Governor had concerns with this legislation, it supports North Carolina's farming and agriculture industry and passed with broad bipartisan support."


Now the opponents say they'll challenge the law in court.

"It's a question of doing what's right and you need to speak the truth and do the right thing regardless of whether you have the power to do anything," said FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez. "That's why we're here today. They have all the power we have none."

Farm workers, clergy, students, and people active in the labor movement gathered at 10 a.m. to protest SB 615.

"We've been making big changes with lawsuits and agreements, and I feel the politicians feel us as a threat so they decided to pass this law to weaken the union," said farm worker Jacqueline Castillo.

Castillo said the union needs to improve conditions for farm workers.

"It's hard work especially because of the sun," she said. "A lot of people don't drink enough water or fluids to work in the fields and a lot of people get heat stroke, dehydrated and there's a lot of pesticides animals around, so it's kind of dangerous."

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