INSTITUTE INDEX: The South's farmworkers are fighting for basic labor rights — and winning

Victoria Hernandez Jose, a member of FLOC in North Carolina, with her children (left to right) Emmanuel, Teresita and Clara. FLOC is suing the state over a new law that makes it more difficult for the group to organize farmworkers. (Photo by Jeremy M. Lange.)

Date on which the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and N.C. Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit against North Carolina over the Farm Act of 2017, which bars farmworker unions from entering agreements with employers to have union dues transferred from paychecks: 11/15/2017

Prior to the law's passage, percent of their weekly wages that were automatically being deducted from North Carolina FLOC members' paychecks for dues: 2.5

Federal hourly minimum wage for agricultural work on North Carolina farms that employ migrant workers in the U.S. on seasonal H2A visas, who make up most of FLOC's dues-paying members: $11.27

Percent of FLOC revenue raised from union dues: 50 to 60

Number of farmworkers represented by FLOC in North Carolina: about 10,000

Total number of seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina: over 100,000

Amount they help generate for the state's economy: more than $12 billion

Percent of North Carolina migrant farmworkers — a group that the lawsuit notes is disproportionately subject to "discrimination, labor exploitation, poverty, human trafficking, debt peonage, and involuntary servitude" — who are Latino: over 90

Percent of North Carolina agricultural operators who are white: over 90

According to a 2011 study by the Center for Worker Health at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, percent of North Carolina farmworkers who had access to needed safety equipment: 15

Percent of farmworker camps in North Carolina that meet state migrant housing standards: 11

Year in which the farm owned by North Carolina state Sen. Brent Jackson, a primary sponsor of the Farm Act, was found to have broken federal minimum wage, disclosure, and recordkeeping regulations: 2015

Number of people who signed a petition calling on Jackson to pay his workers what they were owed: 10,000

Amount Jackson — a Republican who holds a number of leadership positions in the state Senate — paid in a settlement with seven FLOC workers who sued him over the wage-theft claims: $96,950

Number of months following the settlement that Jackson introduced the Farm Act: 2.5

Date on which seven farmworkers, with FLOC's backing, signed an agreement with a Kentucky tobacco grower to settle wage-theft claims: 11/2/2017

Hourly wage that Kentucky tobacco grower Wayne Day paid his farmworkers this year: $8

The current federal hourly minimum wage for agricultural work on Kentucky farms employing H2A workers: $10.92

Number of planting seasons during which Day underpaid the workers: 3

Weeks those workers went on strike to draw attention to their plight: nearly 4

Settlement the workers won from Day to cover back wages and attorneys' fees: $20,000

(Click on figure to go to source.)