Farm workers have been organizing for nearly five years to get tobacco giant Reynolds American— the largest tobacco company in North Carolina which reaps billions in profit from each year—to help improve living and working conditions in the fields of the tobacco growers they contract with. Many tobacco farm workers often live in labor camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below poverty wages.
Reynolds American claims that the company has taken steps to ensure these exploitative conditions do not exist on their contract farms, but more can be done to guarantee that all farm workers have a safe and healthy work place. Reynolds should work with FLOC to develop a written agreement that guarantees freedom of association and collective bargaining to tobacco farm workers.
Reynolds still hasn’t signed an agreement with FLOC, so now concerned consumers are turning to major retailers for support. Last year, we began pressuring Wawa, a convenience store chain in the northeast that sells tobacco products including Reynolds American, to help farm workers in their fight for justice.
Wawa has said they won’t get involved, so labor and student groups have sent letters to Wawa expressing the urgency of the situation and calling on the company to take action. Wawa has never responded to their concerns.
Join with other consumers and stakeholders in demanding that Wawa convey their consumers concerns to Reynolds, calling on the tobacco giant to works with FLOC to develop a written agreement that guarantees freedom of association and collective bargaining to tobacco farm workers.