Celebrate February 14th as International Flower Workers’ Day!On November 7, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Hi, my name is Ricardo. I’m part of the team at Corporación Cactus. International Flower Workers’ Day is important as a way to recognize the importance of respecting the rights of those who make possible the success of the flower industry abroad. It’s also a way to call the attention of the Colombian government and in particular, the U.S. Congress so that they fulfill the obligations that are written in the Labor Action Plan under the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. It’s also a call to Asocolflores and the other companies that are part of this business sector to truly commit to more than just their image, to respecting and making effective labor rights and protecting the environment and the use of water. My name is Marisol Santacruz. I am a flower worker, but I’m also a student, so I dedicate time to working in the flower industry during high season. I believe that flower work is important, especially because it provides many families in the Bogotá Savannah the means to subsist, and it has been valued for years. It’s a job that has existed in the Bogotá Savannah for many years, and has supported many families. I am the daughter of flower workers, and it’s the job that helps me pay for my education and obtain other necessities. So for that reason, I think it is important. Hi, my name is Marco Tulio Franco, I’m from the National Union of Food Industry Workers here in Colombia. We have been present for more or less the last 30 years in the industry, and we know the industry. Today in the year 2017, it’s even more important to celebrate and commemorate February 14th as International Flower Workers’ Day. Today the problems are even worse. Problem #1 for the workers is their health, also job instability due to the neoliberal model, the poor treatment of workers by the management, and the work pace of each day. We are calling all organizations from Colombia, Latin America, the United States, and Europe to join together and denounce the situation that flower workers are living in Colombia. International Flower Workers’ Day is important because it’s a recognition of flower workers’ work and their performance processing flowers. It’s giving your life to this work totally, and here in Colombia, there is a lot of exploitation. So we’re not doing well, for example, with our health. And the pay doesn’t compensate for the reality of the work. There are many problems behind all of this. It’s very important that this day allows the work to be dignified, so that it can be a beginning to recognize everything that flower work means. I’m Mateo González, I was born in the country of Colombia, a beautiful land made special by its flower exportation but also for its diversity and waters, its fauna and flora, something that in this moment is being destroyed, not only because of foreign investments but also because of those with riches and personal interests who see it as a source of income. We who are residents see how our health is deteriorating, our neighbors’ health, water is wasted, especially now with fracking. So for us, it seems interesting to vindicate the land for the workers, celebrating a day for them and not simply commercial exchanges, which are totally abstract symbols. Thank you.