ALL PHOTOS FROM FARMWORKERS ALBANY DAY JUNE 21, 2012
Over ten years ago a number of organizations and individuals joined with farmworkers across New York to create the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign. The Campaign’s primary goal was to improve working and living conditions for New York’s farmworkers – primarily through organizing. RMM was one of the original founding members of the Campaign.
The Campaign realized that organizing among farmworkers in New York was greatly hindered by New York labor law which denied farmworkers protection while bargaining collectively. Since the 1930’s New York’s farmworkers have been excluded from the same rights and protections that most other workers take for granted, including a day of rest per week, overtime pay, disability insurance, and the right to bargain collectively with their employers.
Through meetings across the State and through a state-wide convocation of farmworkers in the 1990’s farmworkers repeatedly asked for help in changing these labor laws and removing the exclusions that denied them equality. During this period RMM was asked to coordinate this legislative campaign on behalf of the Justice For Farmworkers Legislative Campaign. The Legislative Campaign brings together a remarkable coalition of faith communities, students and labor to stand with farmworkers in an effort to gain equality under New York State labor law.
The Legtislative Campaign had some successes as farmworkers were granted the right to clean drinking water in the fields, sanitation facilities, and the right to the same minimum wage as other workers. Exclusions still remain. The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, a bill currently in the NY State Legislature, would remove these exclusions and grant farmworkers the dignity and equality they deserve.
The Senate bill:
The Assembly bill: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A1792-2013
For more background on the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, click on any of the documents below: