The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act passed in the New York State Senate this evening. Earlier today it had passed in the New York State Assembly. The bill will help an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 farmworkers in New York secure many of the rights denied to them since the 1930s. More than half of the migratory farm workers in New York are immigrants.
While New York farmworkers have made the state the third biggest agricultural producer in the nation, labor laws here lagged behind those in other states. Farmworkers lacked the rights to overtime pay, a day of rest per week, and workers’ compensation when injured on the job. They did’t even have the right to engage in collective bargaining through a union.
On Long Island Angel Reyes Rivas of Rural Migrant Ministries has been a leading advocate for the bill’s passage. He told me today that “this is an important step towards justice and equality for Farmworkers in NY. This is only possible because of the effort of farmworkers from all over NY. La Causa continues.”
In the State Assembly, the Long Island co-sponsors of the bill were Assembly Members D’Urso, DeStefano, Englebright, Griffin, Lavine, Jean-Pierre, Raynor, and Ramos. The Long Island co-sponsors in the State Senate were Senators Kaplan, Kaminsky, Brooks, and Thomas.