FARMWORKERS MARCH FOR RIGHTS AND AGAINST MT OLIVE AND PUBLIX-Andrew Stelzer

03/12/04

About 50 people marched through the streets of Lakeland this afternoon to demand rights for immigrant farm workers working in the United States. There are over 1.8 million farm workers in the United States; between 60 and 70 percent of them do not have legal status. Rob Williams of Florida Legal Services spoke to the crowd, telling them that there is a bill in congress this year—the AgJOBS bill, which will give legal status to farm workers, so that they can get drivers licenses, have legal rights, and not live in fear of deportation. ACT f-worker 1

Baldemar Velazquez was a Mexican farm worker who walked off the job in 1967 in Ohio, demanding equal treatment and rights as a migrant worker.
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The march went to the doors of a Publix Supermarket corporate office, where Velasquez confronted a Publix representative, asking Publix to follow the lead of supermarket chains like Kroger, who have stopped carrying Mount Olive pickles because Mount olive does not treat their workers fairly.

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Publix spokesman Lee Bronsen said that the company was aware of the nationwide boycott of Mt olive, but that the supermarket chain make its choices based on what consumers want.

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