Human rights abuses in North Carolina’s tobacco industry
Last week Oxfam America and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) released a groundbreaking report on the conditions in North Carolina's tobacco fields. Tobacco has always been a vital cash crop for NC, but this report confirms that too often workers at the heart of the supply chain live and work in slave-like conditions.
The study includes direct quotes from tobacco workers:
Tobacco work is hard, but they don’t pay us like it is… the chemicals are very strong and they make you dizzy, sometimes you vomit, you get nauseous, it’s very tough….Your whole body feels tired, you don’t know… if it’s the spray [chemicals] or the tobacco.
—Jaime Arroyo, farmworker in Johnston County, North Carolina
I think our housing is disgusting. Not everyone has a mattress to sleep on, and there are 10 men in one room. There are three showers, but only one works, and the same goes for the toilets. We don’t have a refrigerator or good ventilation.
—Aparicio Rosales, farmworker in Wilson County, North Carolina
Read more about FLOC's campaign with RJ Reynolds - a Winston-Salem-based company with over $2 billion in annual profits - to improve conditions for farmworkers.