Farm Labor Organizing Committee

In 1967, Baldemar Velasquez founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). This organization developed into a formal labor union for migrant farm workers in 1979. Its primary goal was to increase wages and benefits for all types of farm workers. FLOC proved to be strongest in the American Midwest, including in Ohio.

FLOC became best known for securing benefits from large, corporate food processors. In 1978, this organization sponsored a strike against the Campbell Soup Company, hoping to secure better wages and benefits for workers in northwestern Ohio. The Campbell Soup Company hired strikebreakers and increasingly utilized machines to replace farm laborers. To counteract the company's actions, FLOC encouraged American consumers to boycott all Campbell products. It was not until 1986, following a peaceful march from Ohio to the Campbell Soup Company's national headquarters, that FLOC received any major concessions from the company. In this year, Campbell Soup Company and also Vlasic agreed to negotiate with FLOC and its eight hundred members, located principally in Michigan and Ohio, who were employed by these two companies. The companies also agreed to increase payments to farmers who grew crops for the two businesses. The farmers were then to pass part of their increased profits to their workers. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, FLOC entered into similar agreements with numerous other companies, most notably Heinz. By 2000, FLOC boasted seven thousand members and was affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

See Also