A Mother's Quest for Rights

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Date of publication: May 10, 2009

Source: El Diario NY

Excerpt from article:

It is a tradition to give flowers on Mother's Day. But what many of us are not familiar with is the far from rosy story behind those flowers.

In Colombia, bouquets don't bring the same joy to Amanda Camacho and other workers in the flower industry. There, workers?the majority women?are paid an average of $8 a day to cut 350 to 400 flowers per hour. They have no health benefits yet are exposed to chemicals and pesticides. Workdays are as long as 12 to 15 hours with no overtime pay. And they are under threat for attempting to unionize.

On our op-ed pages today, Camacho describes conditions for flower workers. She is on tour in the United States to increase awareness about labor abuses and has met with flower distributors here and members of Congress. Colombia produces 60 to 80 percent of the flowers imported by the United States...