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Our Lives and our Labor Matters

Our Lives and our Labor Matters

Gainesville, FL - On Thursday, December 4th, the US House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by U.S. Representative Ted Yoho (R- FL3) to bar the President from deferring the deportation of undocumented Americans through the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. As if that weren't enough, late Friday the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the Sunshine State was joining a lawsuit against Obama's executive action on immigration.
Both actions are a symbolic and shameful move to attack the administration's program which would give temporary relief from deportation to nearly 5 million undocumented parents of US citizen children who have been here more than five years. The relief would imply they would get a work permit and thus, a drivers' license, dramatically reducing their chance of being detained and separated from their children. It is estimated that less than 253,000 of over 600,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida who would potentially quality.     
Rep. Ted Yoho represents wide agricultural areas of Florida, and in fact, sits on the Agriculture Committee. Agriculture is a $100 billion industry and employs nearly one million Floridians.  Rep. Yoho should be well aware of the needs of our agricultural community for regularization of the status of immigrants who work for the farmers, as well as of the suffering of the many U.S. citizen children whose parents have not been able to change their status due to the repeated failures by the US Congress to fix our broken immigration system.
Tirso Moreno, from the Farmworker Association of Florida stated: "This is hypocritical considering that many undocumented Floridians are farmworkers who work from sun to sun doing the backbreaking work that sustains our economy. We feed not only Florida, we feed the nation. We do the hardest work at the lowest pay, and to add insult to injury, Rep. Yoho wants us to fear detention and deportation too? He should know better,

Tirso Moreno, opina sobre acciones ejecutivas

Jeanne Economos, talking about the Pesticide Awareness Campaign

Join host, News Director Rick Spisak

with his guests Jeanne Economos, from Pesticide Awareness Campaign (Click to listen de podcast)

and Our friend from Food Not Bombs the Hunger Striker Dezeray who is non-violently fighting for compassion for the Hungry and Homeless in Fort Lauderdale and across the country.

And our ACA Advocate Athena from Florida Chain, explaining the new registration campaign, and dispelling the rumours that have been circulating by those who have opposed it since it was first proposed.

TUNE IN for our Thanksgiving Special - Food, Pesticide, Hunger and Healthcare - TUNE IN - 

and give thanks for all the good people that make these shows possible.

Solidarity & Peace

Rick Spisak, News Director

Some 7 million undocumented migrants hope for Congress to pass new immigration law

Taken from: WPLG-TV (Miami) November 21, 2014, By Andrea Torres

The majority of undocumented migrants in South Florida did not benefit from President Barack Obama's executive order -- shielding 5 million from deportation

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. - Many in the business sector worried that President Barack Obama's executive order was going to have an impact on South Florida's labor market, but it won't.

There are still at least 7 million undocumented migrants nationwide, who do not have a path toward a legal work permit. Jorge, who asked that his last name not be published, said Thursday night that what they need is Congress to pass new immigration law.

Undocumented workers who are better off in the United States underpaid than in Central America or Haiti make up the work force of the agricultural fields in Homestead and Florida City. Work permits would mean higher pay since most of them make less than Florida's $7.93 minimum wage.

Wendell Rollason Award to FWAF's General Coordinator, Tirso Moreno

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the Florida Rural Health Association presented the Wendell Rollason Award to FWAF's General Coordinator, Tirso Moreno.  The award is given annually to recognize outstanding public service leadership in the area of rural health issues in Florida, and to recognize commitment in seeking solutions in the delivery  of rural health care or quality of life in rural Florida. 

FWAF Response to the President’s Executive Order Regarding Immigration

November 21, 2014

From the Farmworker Association of Florida and our farmworker membership in Florida, we want to thank President Obama for taking the bold move, against stiff opposition, to provide for measures under his executive authority to protect close to 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States against the threats of detention and deportation. While we fully recognize that this is but a stop-gap measure to provide temporary relief to families that have been living in the shadows and in fear for years, the urgency of the immigration crisis demanded the courage to take immediate steps that have a major impact on a large segment of the population in our country.

In light of last night’s Presidential announcement, we take the following position:

  • The immigration crisis and the broken immigration system in the U. S. will not be solved by an Executive Order. The country needs more than a temporary fix to a complicated and massive domestic problem.
  • Congress must commit to finding a long-term, fair and just solution to address the status of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today.
  • Holding 11million people hostage to unresolved disagreements over securing the border continues to leave millions of hardworking families that are part of the fabric of our society and economy in a limbo that our country cannot afford.
  • We call on the incoming Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that treats all people with respect and dignity and that pulls our country together and that stops the division and attack mentality.

We resolve to:

  • Work with our community members that qualify for relief under this Executive Order to help them engage in the qualification process.
  • Commit to fight for the rights of those who are excluded from the Executive Order to defend their right to continue to work, contribute to our society and to stay with their families in the U.S.
  • Challenge our members, our supporters and our community to continue working tirelessly until we have achieved a just, compassionate, and fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

We cannot wait any longer! Our families deserve better! Our country needs to live up to its values as a melting pot that welcomes all to her shores.

FL: Pesticidas mortales

News taken from Univision Orlando

Florida, (Entravision).- Los químicos utilizados en los cultivos son una de las amenazas más peligrosas que enfrentan los trabajadores del campo, día a día. Ampliamos en nuestro reportaje especial “Pesticidas mortales”.

Elvire greets the Pope

Elvire's daughter wrote in her facebook "So proud of what my mom is doing. She truly cares about the La Via Campesina and the FWAF organization, she totally deserved to meet the pope and her trip to Italy."

FWAF community leader in Fellsmere goes to the Vatican

On Saturday, 10/25/14, Haitian farmworker and FWAF community leader in Fellsmere, Elvire Francois, departed for an exciting trip to Rome, Italy. 

La Via Campesina en movimiento... ¡ Por la soberanía alimentaria !

October 16th, World Day of Action For Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations

Taken from La Vía Campesina

Food Sovereignty is the right of the world’s peoples to produce and to consume healthy food. Food cannot be reduced to a commodity in the hands of the transnational corporations.

The international peasant and family farmer movement, La Via Campesina, is calling upon its member organisations across the world, and on grassroots organisations, allied social groups, and concerned consumers to be part of the World Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty  and against  transnational corporations, this coming October 16th, 2014.

Every year, La Via Campesina organises this Day of solidarity, resistance, and mobilisation in order to make citizens aware of the current threats to Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.

International Symposium on Agroecology at the FAO in Rome

"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"

Press Release- La Via Campesina

The International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutritional Security was held on the 18th and 19th of September of 2014, at the headquarters of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome. This marked the first time that the FAO has ever officially and directly addressed the topic of agroecology.

In his closing remarks at the Symposium, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, said that: "Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution." The delegation of La Via Campesina, that participated in the Symposium, welcomes this opening, but recommends caution, given the attempts to coopt agroecology that were observed at the event.

According to La Via Campesina, the science, practices and movement of agroecology are the product of centuries of accumulated peasant and indigenous knowledge, knowledge of how food was produced for humanity since long before farm chemicals were invented. This knowledge has been organized through a 'dialog of knowledges' (dialogo de saberes) with the western sciences of ecology, agronomy, rural sociology, etc.  Support for agroecology, among rural social movements, consumers, environmentalists and others, has grown a lot in recent decades, in part because of it's sharp critique of, and it's alternatives to, the badly-named 'Green Revolution' of industrial agriculture.  For La Via, peasant agroecology is a fundamental building block in the construction of food sovereignty. Read more




International peasant movement, La Via Campesina, of which the Farmworker Association of Florida is a member, is taking part in the People's Climate Summit in New York City to bring attention to the impacts of climate change on peasants, small farmers, women farmers, indigenous farmers, farmworkers, and landless peoples.  LVC has issued a position statement urging support for traditional, sustainable, agroecological farming practices as the path to real food sovereignty.   "We continue to propose and put into practice wherever we can agroecological production and the construction of people’s food sovereignty."



Activists: Tighten pesticide limits: Front & Center

Taken from Orlando Sentinel

American farmers apply more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides a year to their fields to kill weeds and damaging insects. But collateral damage includes farmworkers; more than 10,000 a year suffer acute pesticide poisoning. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stricter limits on pesticide use. The issue is especially important in Florida, with its $100 billion agricultural industry and more than 150,000 farmworkers. In a recent email interview, Eve Gartner of Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group, and Jeannie Economos, a pesticide expert for the Farmworker Association of Florida, called for more stringent rules than the EPA has proposed. Excerpts of that interview follow. A longer version is online at OrlandoSentinel.com/Opinion.

Q: Why are more stringent pesticide rules needed?

A: The farmworkers who harvest the food that the rest of us consume are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals designed to kill pests. Many of these men and women suffer illnesses as a result — rashes, blisters, nausea, headaches, respiratory issues, stinging eyes — and elevated risks of cancer, neurological impairment and other long-term health problems.

According to the federal government, there are 10,000 to 20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among agricultural workers every year. Yet, farmworkers receive far less protection from pesticides than workers in other industries who are exposed to similarly toxic chemicals. Farm workers deserve the same health and safety protections as other workers in the U.S.

More Than 200,000 People Call for Stronger Workplace Protections for Farmworkers

EPA proposal is a step in the right direction as farmworkers demand stronger rules now.


Farmworkers, public health advocates, labor organizations, and public officials, were among the more than 200,000 who submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to strengthen its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is the only federal standard designed to protect the nation’s more than 2 million farmworkers from one of their greatest occupational hazards: pesticide exposure.

“Farmworkers face dangerous exposure to poisons over the course of their working life,” said Eve Gartner, attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest law firm. “While most Americans benefit from broad workplace protections, farmworkers are not protected by the same health and safety standards.”

Book review: 'Fed Up: The High Cost of Cheap Food' by Dale Finley Slongwhite

By Michael Hoffmann • JACKSONVILLE (Florida) TIMES-UNION • July 31, 2014
Dale Finley Slongwhite has faithfully recorded the lamentations of third- and fourth-generation African-American agricultural workers who labored in the area around Lake Apopka, including the drained area of the lake known as “the muck.” These lamentations are poignant, thoughtful, triumphant and, yes, bitter. The speakers helped to feed America and have pride in this accomplishment — surviving, if not prospering, despite economic and political hardships from Jim Crow segregation to today’s laissez-faire politics and crony capitalism.
The import of the words of the speakers in “Fed Up: The High Costs of Cheap Food” is magnified by Gaye Kozanli’s remarkable black-and-white photographs of the speakers, primarily black women, who have seen family members, friends and neighbors dead too soon from the hot, hard work in the fields and groves where they were subjected to the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides as well as the accumulated poisons of the exposed lake bottom. ...

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