History

1980s

RMM is founded in 1981.

It creates a daycare center and overnight summer camp for the children of farmworkers, and begins building and renovating housing for migrant farmworkers.

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1990s

The Rev. Richard Witt is named Executive Director in 1991.

CITA and The Justice for Farmworker Campaign

RMM and farmworkers in Orange County create a farmworker center called CITA (Centro Independiente de Trabjadores Agricolas/ The Independent Farmworker Center). It holds the first Farmworker Advocacy Day, bringing 150 farmworkers to Albany to advocate for their rights.

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Farmworkers successfully lobby to pass three laws in New York State

These laws requiring drinking water and field sanitation be supplied on the job, and giving farmworkers the same minimum wage as other laborers. In coalition with other farmworker organizations, is founded, as well as the Youth Arts Group (YAG), creating the groundwork for a committed and innovative rural youth empowerment program.

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2000s

YAG and staff travel to the Mexico border to learn about the North American Free Trade Agreement.

RMM expands its work with farmworker centers in Western New York and the Catskills. The Justice for Farmworkers Campaign organizes multiple marches across the state. Convenes the first Rural Women’s Assembly, which lays the groundwork for new women’s empowerment and leadership cooperatives around the state. RMM expands its work with a center in the Catskills.

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2010s

The Youth Economic Group (YEG) is founded in Sullivan County, the only union-affiliated youth cooperative in the country. Alternative spring breaks began, with college students participating in educational and advocacy delegations with farmworkers.

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After 20 years of campaigning, the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act is passed in 2019, giving farmworkers basic rights like the right to unionize, overtime pay, workers compensation and a day of rest. RMM expands its work with a farmworker center in Long Island.

2020s

The Farmworker Fair Laborer Practice Act goes into effect in 2020. RMM partners with unions around the state to begin implementing the law, and the first farmworker union in New York State is former at Pindar Vineyards in Long Island.

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RMM continues to engage communities in rural areas across the state that are chronically underserved.