Time to protect farm workers
Jun 10, 2015 | 6533 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For far too long New York’s farm workers have been denied basic rights afforded nearly every other private employee in the state. Those who put the produce on our tables work without basic rights intrinsic to any other occupation: a day of rest each week, overtime pay and the right to collective bargaining, among other protections.

The Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, a piece of legislation that has been circulating through the State Legislature for more than a decade, aims to right these wrongs. While the Assembly has consistently passed it, the bill has failed in the State Senate for years.

Before this session ends, the Senate needs to pass this important piece of legislation. We can no longer cast a blind eye on these egregious rights violations.

Currently, 100,000 farm laborers in the state go unprotected of these most basic protections; 78 percnent of these laborers are Latino. Advocates have long said that in addition to the denial of these rights, many agricultural laborers throughout the state work under abject conditions and live in sub-standard, oftentimes hazardous housing.

Advocates found that in many cases, workers are routinely threatened with deportation and are subjected to physical abuse at the hands of their employers. These violations go unnoticed because without legislation these workers are all but invisible.

California passed similar legislation 50 yeas ago. We can no longer pretend to be a progressive state while allowing some of our most vulnerable populace to work without basic protections.
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