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Season 4, Episode 205

National Farmers Day, celebrating workers in the agricultural industry



Guest Name:

Baldemar Velasquez

Guest Website:


Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

In honor of National Farmers Day, the America’s Work Force Union Podcast checked in with the President and Founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Baldemar Velasquez. Velasquez talked about his life growing up in a migrant family, the work FLOC does for farm workers and the issues with organizing in the agricultural industry.

Velasquez worked as a child at a piece rate in the fields, only paid per bucket filled. His family had to live in a redesigned chicken coop in Michigan with four other families, and each day the families would go into the fields and pick the produce from sunrise to sunset. These experiences as a child paved the way for Velasquez’s current efforts to improve the quality of life for farmworkers when he founded FLOC in 1967.

FLOC is made up of 2,000 good-standing, dues-paying members. There are two types of members. Union members who pay dues, and associate members who pay a flat fee year-round to support the committee. FLOC works with several migrant workers throughout the year, helping these workers provide for their families with food and housing. Velasquez also talked about changes that would need to happen to improve the migration issues across the country. He also outlined how the current policy is being exploited by large corporations.

Funding for organizing in Agriculture is not included under the National Labor Relations Act. Since 1935, farming and agriculture have been excluded, as at the time, most farmers were former slaves. Since then, it’s been up to the unions organizing workers to create a legal framework. Any organizational efforts must be made from the grassroots and with the employers, and the need for fair contracts is crucial to unions' success in agriculture, Velasquez said.

To hear more from Velasquez on the state of agriculture, please press play on the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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