Great news! On Tuesday May 10th, a coalition of farmworkers and advocates - including the Workers' Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York - filed a lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional denial to farmworkers of the right to organize and collectively bargain. Shortly after filing the suit and holding a press conference, the Governor responded with a statement that he supports their right and will not fight the lawsuit. This is a major step forward in the fight for equal rights for farmworkers. Read more about the lawsuit and response here. However, there is still much to be done.
Next week, New York State farmworkers and their allies will begin a 200 mile march from Smithtown, Long Island to the NYS Senate in Albany.They will be calling for dignity and respect at work, and the same basic labor rights that every other worker in New York receives.
Back when the New Deal was passed, in order to secure the votes of Southern lawmakers, farmworkers were excluded from many basic labor protections, like a day of rest, overtime pay, and the right to bargain collectively for better wages and conditions. This remnant of the Jim Crow era continues to this day in New York.
You can join the march for a segment, or meet the marchers at one of many events along the way. There are also solidarity events in Western New York. Click here for more information on any of these events.
Farmworkers in New York deserve the same rights as all other workers in our state.