From FAN member Toxic Free NC:
The NC Pesticide Board recently settled its five-year case against Ag-Mart, the tomato grower accused of exposing pregnant workers to hazardous pesticides on its NC farms. Farm worker advocates are greatly troubled by the settlement, which many believe sends the wrong message that companies who put farm workers at extraordinary risk will not be held accountable. Take action below: Call on the NC Pesticide Board to make sure such a tragic case never happens again in our state.
The settlement ends Ag-Mart's appeal of the Pesticide Board's 2009 ruling against them, and includes a $25,000 payment, a two-year pesticide safety education program for a limited number of farm workers, and a public statement from the NC Pesticide Board that Ag-Mart is free from any negligence or liability in the case. Read more about the settlement on Toxic Free NC's blog.
We are concerned that many of the root causes of the Ag-Mart tragedy which put farm workers and their families at risk of serious harm have not yet been resolved. Throughout five years of hearings on the Ag-Mart case, the NC Pesticide Board has only touched on the underlying problems with worker protections in NC once, when it was ordered to do so by the state legislature. Even then, the Pesticide Board made only minor changes to pesticide record-keeping rules.
We are calling on the NC Pesticide Board to make sure that this never happens again. Farm workers in North Carolina should never again be subjected to the hazards that AgMart workers described in this case. Join us in urging the NC Pesticide Board to take up this issue at their next meeting on July 13.
Take Action - We don't want another case like Ag-Mart ever again in North Carolina.
Please join Toxic Free NC and farm worker advocates around the state in calling on the NC Pesticide Board to ensure that we don't have another tragedy like the Ag-Mart case in our state ever again. Here is the open letter to the NC Pesticide Board sent by the Farmworker Advocacy Network on 6/17/10. Please feel free to use the text from that letter, or use the talking points, below, to compose your own.
Send your letter to:
NC Pesticide Board
c/o James Burnette, Administrator
post mail: 1090 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1090
Thank you for taking action! Please contact Toxic Free NC at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 833-1123 to let us know you're taking action, or if you have any questions.
Talking Points for your letter or email to the NC Pesticide Board:
- Farmworkers and their families still face unacceptable risks of serious harm on farms in North Carolina.
- The NC Pesticide Board has the authority and the power to make significant changes in the working conditions faced by farmworkers. Examples include requiring growers to record the time workers return to sprayed fields, and allowing workers to make confidential complaints of violations.
- We urge the Pesticide Board to ensure that its members never have to hear another case like the Ag-Mart case again. Now that this case has been closed, we urge you to take up this critical question at the next meeting of the Pesticide Board.