I Am Not a Tractor!
How Florida Farmworkers Took On the Fast Food Giants and Won
by Susan L. Marquis
Pub Date 15 Dec 2017
I Am Not a Tractor! celebrates the courage, vision, and creativity of the farmworkers and community leaders who have transformed one of the worst agricultural situations in the United States into one of the best. Susan L. Marquis highlights past abuses workers suffered in Florida’s tomato fields: toxic pesticide exposure, beatings, sexual assault, rampant wage theft, and even, astonishingly, modern-day slavery. Marquis unveils how, even without new legislation, regulation, or government participation, these farmworkers have dramatically improved their work conditions.
Marquis credits this success to the immigrants from Mexico, Haiti, and Guatemala who formed the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a neuroscience major who takes great pride in the watermelon crew he runs, a leading farmer/grower who was once homeless, and a retired New York State judge who volunteered to stuff envelopes and ended up building a groundbreaking institution. Through the Fair Food Program that they have developed, fought for, and implemented, these people have changed the lives of more than thirty thousand field workers. I Am Not a Tractor! offers a range of solutions to a problem that is rooted in our nation’s slave history and that is worsened by ongoing conflict over immigration.
"How on earth did a ragtag group of impoverished and marginalized farm workers bring true labor justice to the nation's fields? Susan L. Marquis provides answers in this masterful investigation—detailed, academically rigorous, and impossible to put down."—Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland
"I Am Not A Tractor! explores what today's corporate giants fear the most: democracy. Marquis tells the extraordinary story of how some of the poorest people in America overcame some of the most powerful to obtain justice. If immigrant farm workers in Florida can do it, so can other workers throughout the United State—and this fine book shows how."—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control
"This is a critically important book for social entrepreneurs, innovators, and change agents. Well written, deeply researched, and an uplifting read. You will not put this book down until you hit the final word."—Paul C. Light, Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service, New York University, and author of A Government Ill-Executed
"Susan Marquis tells the powerful story of an innovative human rights organization that has dramatically improved conditions for Florida farmworkers. Her portrayal of a group of heroic individuals from different cultural and educational backgrounds should resonate for readers who don’t ordinarily think about labor rights issues. In addition, Marquis offers trenchant analysis of the challenges facing millions of low-wage workers in agricultural supply chains."—James J. Brudney, Joseph Crowley Chair in Labor and Employment Law, Fordham University Law School