Being against Florida’s agricultural slavery and upset that Vermont’s Bernie Sanders was doing more to end it than Florida’s government – per the link above – I wrote to Gov. Charlie Crist, Rep. Marco Rubio and a couple of others. Crist and Rubio did nothing. The gains made by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in ending Florida’s agricultural slavery – per the link below – are the results of their inventiveness and perseverance.
RFK, Jr. endorsed Crist, apparently unaware that a vote for Crist (or Rubio) is a vote for slavery. My initials aren’t impressive, but my paper trail is; it endorses Kendrick Meek.
From: Susan Chandler
Date: April 21, 2008 9:31:24 AM EDT
To: Governor Charlie Crist <Charlie.Crist@eog.myflorida.com>, Ken Pruitt <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Marco Rubio <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Stan Mayfield <Stan.Mayfield@myfloridahouse.gov>
Subject: Modern Slavery In Florida
D.C. Senate tackles what Florida’s legislature and governor won’t . . .
“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Lucas Benitez testified about seven-day workweeks, debt bondage, and armed crew bosses that beat workers who attempt to leave.”
“A tractor doesn’t tell the farmer how to run the farm.”
Modern Slavery In Florida?
By Te-Ping Chen, The Nation
Posted on April 18, 2008, Printed on April 21, 2008
Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) sat alone at an otherwise empty dais during today’s Senate hearing on Immokalee tomato pickers, asking questions he already knew the answers to.
For months, Sanders has campaigned alongside workers to expose exploitation in Florida’s tomato fields, where migrant laborers toil for a meager 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they harvest and haul–a wage rate that, adjusted for inflation, has decreased by 75% over the past 30 years. Yet today even Sanders, once again hearing the extent of abuses in the fields, seemed hard-pressed to keep an expression of incredulity off his face. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Lucas Benitez testified about seven-day workweeks, debt bondage, and armed crew bosses that beat workers who attempt to leave. Eric Schlosser–who’s written extensively about farm-labor sweatshops but describes conditions as such that nevertheless “defy words”–spoke of a culture of exploitation that allowed Abel Cuello, a man convicted in 1999 for enslaving at least 30 migrants in Florida and South Carolina, to readily find work again upon leaving prison with Ag-Mart Produce, one of Florida’s largest tomato growers.
After listening to the witnesses, Sanders continued to duly interrogate them. But what questions could he really ask? The issue the hearing highlighted–tomato pickers’ wages–could hardly be more unambiguous …