MacArthur Fellows Program

Baldemar Velasquez

Farm Labor Leader | Class of 1989

Farm Labor Leader
Toledo, Ohio
42 at time of award
Published August 1, 1989

About Baldemar's Work

Baldemar Velasquez is president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1967, Velasquez co-founded FLOC, an organization that strives to improve the welfare of migrant farm workers.  Under his leadership, FLOC achieved a historic breakthrough in contract negotiations with the Campbell Soup Company in 1986.  Since then, he has won and renewed labor contracts with Heinz, Campbell Soup, Vlasic, and Dean Foods.  He has been able to reach agreements with growers by understanding their labor-supply needs and urging them to understand the needs of agricultural workers.  These agreements, that include FLOC, the processor, farmers, and grading stations are unique in Midwest agriculture, as they are the first, multiparty, collective bargaining agreements in labor history.


He also focused his attention upon worker education, food and fuel cooperatives and a legal clinic, working to secure health care, housing, and day care for members of FLOC and their families.  Velasquez was an organizer of the National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, and was appointed as a charter member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (1993-95).

Velasquez received a B.A. (1969) from Bluffton College, Ohio, and an advanced degree in theology (1991) from Florida International Seminary.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of Baldemar Velasquez
January 26, 2015
"‘MacArturos’ Gather at CSUMB"
Monterey Herald
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Ruth Behar , 1988 MacArthur Fellow
Baldemar Velasquez , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
Maria Varela , 1990 MacArthur Fellow
Amalia Mesa-Bains , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
Hugo Morales , 1994 MacArthur Fellow
Eva Harris , 1997 MacArthur Fellow
Camilo José Vergara , 2002 MacArthur Fellow
Rueben Martínez, 2004 MacArthur Fellow
Carlos D. Bustamante, 2010 MacArthur Fellow
Natalia Almada, 2012 MacArthur Fellow
October 3, 2014
"How to End Child Labor in US Tobacco Fields"
La Prensa-Toledo
Baldemar Velasquez , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
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