RE: Schlosser--Burger With a Side of Spies

May 7, 2008


The fact of slave farm labor in Immokalee and Belle Glades , Florida,  has been know for decades, since even before the 1960 Ed Murrow "Harvest of Shame," . Schlosser's description is accurate. His prescription for change is not. I was an organizer for the Florida National Education Association, working in Florida in the 80's. Who knew about slave labor back then? Harshly exploited workers, the sherrif, the overseers, and the landowners knew. Who else? The teachers knew. The teachers were part of a union that represented the richest (Palm Beach) and poorest (Belle Glades) section of the US. I begged my bosses to let me organize the educator force in mass opposition to slavery. They rejected the idea, sticking to bread and butter teacher issues. Legislation will not improve work life in Immokalee; the powers too entrenched. Rank and file action from ethical teachers could.

Dr Rich Gibson
San Diego State University