CMWJ works to support farmworkers organizing to improve conditions in the fields. We organize with farmworkers and allies to fight for a more equitable agricultural system where farmworkers have a voice as stakeholders, and have the right to collectively bargain and negotiate fair wages and safe, humane working conditions. We seek to empower migrant farm workers through education, targeted services, research, organizing, and advocacy to achieve the ability to represent themselves in the workplace and in their communities. Our constituencies include migrant workers in the U.S. and guest workers. Our workers’ center provides direct services, education, and training for immigrant workers in the area. We have become well-known for workplace and immigration issues. Our reputation has bred trust, especially locally, and has led to several high impact legal cases which seek to end ongoing wage theft in the region. We are on the ground with farmworkers.
In 1980, as the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC) was building its campaign to organize tomato workers in Ohio, FLOC members saw a need for a non-profit partner to help educate the public on the agricultural system built to oppress the workers at the bottom, and the need for collective bargaining as a means to change the system. The Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice (CMWJ) was formed to educate and engage students, the faith community, labor groups, and other non-profits in farmworker organizing campaigns, and assist with fundraising, research and advocacy. CMWJ played a key role in FLOC’s campaign in Ohio, which eventually led to the first ever multi-party collective bargaining agreement between workers, growers, and a corporation. During FLOC’s campaign to organize farmworkers in North Carolina, CMWJ again organized large scale support, leading to another collective bargaining victory in 2004. We continue to work with farmworkers under the contract between FLOC and North Carolina growers to train workers on their rights and build leadership among rank-and-file FLOC members.
Leadership and Structure
CMWJ decisions and priorities are made by working with the local community to identify needs and brainstorm solutions. Projects, initiatives, and decisions are discussed and decided on in community meetings, with input and support from community leadership and CMWJ staff. The board of directors meets regularly to review and approve action plans built out of community organizing work.