Home

Tell British American Tobacco Chairman Burrows to Prevent Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Tobacco Fields!

23 April 2014 Urgent Action
Printer-friendly version

It's time for BAT to take responsibility for conditions in their U.S. supply chain - CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE to BAT Chairman Richard Burrows.

BAT is the major shareholder (42.02%) and an important customer of Reynolds American Inc., the largest tobacco company in North Carolina. BAT plays an important role in setting acceptable standards for tobacco farm workers in its supply chain.

NCworkerhousingThe situation for tobacco farm workers in North Carolina is dire. A 2011 report by Oxfam America and the IUF-affiliated Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), A state of fear: Human rights abuses in North Carolina's tobacco industry, showed that many farm workers often live in labor camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below poverty wages.

Since there is no American law which mandates compliance with internationally recognized human rights protections for tobacco farm workers such as freedom of association, FLOC, which represents tobacco farm workers, wants RAI to guarantee the human right to freedom of association and worker representation on its contract farms. BAT should use its influence and tell RAI to sign an agreement with FLOC.

BAT says that RAI participates in and promotes a multi-stakeholder process called the Farm Labor Practices Group which includes other tobacco manufacturers, growers, NGO's and FLOC.  BAT and RAI see this as the solution to abuses in the tobacco supply chain.  In fact, the FLPG lacks the power to make systemic changes in the tobacco supply chain or forthrightly address the issue of worker representation and freedom of association.  Due to US Anti-Trust laws the discussion of solutions to various issues such as a process for guaranteeing freedom of association must be agreed to by each tobacco manufacturer individually, ultimately making the FLPG process powerless in this regard.

You can make a difference by bringing justice to the tobacco fields of the South - CLICK HERE to send a message to BAT Chairman Richard Burrows telling RAI to sign an agreement with FLOC.