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Report Back: Organizers Hit the Streets, a Distribution Center in south Florida

One morning of March 2016 a couple of organizers with Workers Struggle hit the streets of south Florida to reach workers who we heard are very unhappy, overworked and could use some help from the outside to jump-start an organized struggle.  Organizers targeted a very large supermarket distribution hub/warehouse with leaflets for the upcoming May Day 2016 event.

This was the second time to hit this location after the first time, a week prior, security guards on golf cart rolled up on organizers handing out leaflets and asked them to leave as they were on “private property.” This time organizers stood at the street on the public sidewalk and passed leaflets to cars driving in and out at their shift changed discovered to be ~6am when the influx of traffic hit.

Organizers approached cars saying, “I have an invitation for a free movie showing about a group of workers who organized themselves for higher wages and better conditions. We hear things are bad in here and we want to come together with you to learn what we can do and how to organize”

A couple of different workers separately said emphatically “YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE”. More than one called it “Legalized Slavery” and many sympathized with the need for more money for wage and better conditions overall.

One worker said, “you see what time it is? I got here at [X time] yesterday, this is slavery in here!!” Looking at the clock, that meant he just worked a 16 hour shift. He yelled, “call the news! we need help!” as they drove off in a long van with ~7 workers inside.  Presumably, a transport service provided by the contract labor agencies.

Another worker who exited the bus at the bus stop in front of the facility said, “there’s about 5 different bossmen operating in there” (bossmen meaning companies, he said), and “you get paid a set amount per day (presumably for 8 hrs of work) but usually we work 12-16 hours for that amount.” He said there’s some fellows working on suing the company and he is hopeful that will force them to change.  We implored him to join us on May Day to learn how we can build momentum together in organizing that goes even beyond a potential lawsuit.

Several workers said they will be there on May Day event, if they are off work.

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