The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO endorses Initiative 522 because everyone in our state deserves to know what is in their food before they buy it. I-522 would require foods such as breakfast cereals, chips and many other pantry staples to be labeled if they contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. The main reason that foods are genetically modified is so they can withstand exposure to pesticides and herbicides, chemicals that are known toxins.
The workers who are most vulnerable to the toxic exposure associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are farm workers. For this reason, the United Farm Workers have taken a strong stance in favor of I-522. They are joined by the Washington State Nurses Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46, and dozens of other unions, environmental groups and sustainable businesses.
Many of the organizations that support I-522 stood up to support farm workers who told their stories about the horrors of pesticide exposure in Olympia last year at the hearing on HB 2413, legislation to protect people from dangerous pesticide drift. The stories of rashes, vomiting, respiratory distress and birth defects from exposure to aerial crop dusting were grotesque and sobering. Imagine your boss dumping tons of toxic chemicals on you and your children! I-522 will give consumers the chance to decide against genetically modified organism (GMO) products that require the intensified chemical use.