JUSTICE FOR FARMWORKERS LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGN
In the 1930s, the passage of New Deal legislation marked the beginning of a new era for workers' rights. One of the groups forgotten by the New Deal was farmworkers.
Eighty years have gone by and New York State farmworkers still lack the rights to a day of rest, overtime pay and the right to bargain collectively - which means they are powerless to ask their employers for what they deserve - equal rights and dignity.
The Justice for Farmworkers Campaign (JFW) was created as a statewide educational and legislative movement aimed at giving farmworkers the same rights that every other New York State worker receives.
Over the last fifteen years, Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. (RMM) has been at the forefront of the Campaign by raising awareness, educating the public about know how they can support farmworkers, and supporting for legislative change through the passage of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.
The Legislative Campaign has had some successes, as farmworkers were granted the right to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities in the fields, and the right to the same minimum wage as other workers yet, exclusions still remain. The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act (S2837/A2750), a bill currently in the NY State Legislature, would remove these exclusions and grant farmworkers the dignity and equality they deserve.
To find out more information on how you can join the campaign and learn about our upcoming events and actions, send us a message and we will get back to you!
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FARMWORKER ALBANY DAY May 6th
In a 4-1 decision, an Appellate Division panel ruled “unconstitutional as a matter of law” the exclusion of farmworkers in the state labor law provisions granting employees the right to organize and bargain collectively.
The plaintiff, Crispin Hernandez, was fired from his job as a dairy worker in upstate Lowville in 2015 after his boss saw him meeting after work with co-workers and human rights organizers to discuss workplace conditions, according to the complaint brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented Hernandez in the lawsuit he brought against the state in 2016.
The New York Constitution, adopted in 1938, grants workers the right to organize and collectively bargain, but the State Employment Relations Act, adopted in 1937, exempted farmworkers from those rights.
The labor movement’s push for farmworkers rights -May 21, 2019
For New York Democrats, occupying the governor’s mansion and controlling both houses of the state Legislature was like looking for El Dorado, a goal that often proved elusive but kept their sights ever focused forward. Now that the Empire State has joined the ranks of only 14 states with a deep blue “trifecta,” Democrats face a challenge in meeting the expectations of those who helped them get to the promised land.
Atop the list of stakeholders looking for results is organized labor. With 1 in 5 workers unionized, New York state has one of the highest unionization rates in the nation. The labor movement delivered a crushing defeat of the referendum on a state constitutional convention in 2017, while unions helped propel Democrats to pivotal victories in the state Senate last fall.
Sometime in the next several weeks, New York state legislators could vote on a bill to grant farmworkers overtime pay, collective bargaining and other labor rights. It's a measure that, if enacted, would have far-reaching effects.
Opponents of the legislation say it would harm New York agriculture and may contribute to the closure of farms across the state. Supporters argue that it would end a Jim Crow-era exclusion that prevents tens of thousands of New York farmworkers from receiving these employment benefits.
Read Senate Bill 2837
Senate Bill 2837, sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos will enact the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which will grant collective bargaining rights, workers' compensation and unemployment benefits to New York state farmworkers.
Read Assembly Bill 2750
Assembly Bill 2750, sponsored by Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan will enacts the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which will grant collective bargaining rights, workers' compensation and unemployment benefits to New York state farmworkers.
The purpose of this Farmworker Sabbath is to raise up the MORAL and ETHICAL voices of religious congregations/communities within New York State to focus on the plight of its farmworkers – and to respond to a long-standing injustice with prayer, education and action.
Rural & Migrant Ministry
Campaign Resource List
Key Provisions of the farmworker fair labor practices act
Learn more about the key provisions that would be enacted if the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act were to pass through the New York State Legislature.
members of the coalition
Learn more about the several organizations that are members of the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign.
Myths and facts of the farmworker fair labor practices act
Learn more about several myths and facts that surround the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act.