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Wednesday, February 14

Think Twice About Giving Roses

Flower Industry Isn't All Roses, Workers Say
From ABC News, Justin Rood Reports:

Roses are a symbol of romance to many people -- but not to Beatriz Fuentes.

Like many of the roughly 90,000 workers on giant South American flower plantations, Fuentes helps pick most of the roses and other flowers that are sold in the United States.

But she says she is paid less than $50 for a six-day week of demanding labor, often under difficult -- some say illegal -- conditions, including contact with dangerous chemicals.

Many of the roses sold in the United States each Valentine's Day are actually grown in South America.

ILRF's Nora Ferm says the typical South American flower picker is female, unmarried, has an elementary school education and three or more children. Since 2003, Ferm's group has backed an effort to organize South American flower pickers into unions and improve their working conditions.

Fuentes is to testify before Congress this morning about the working conditions she faces. Read the rest here

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