Equal Treatment for Farmworkers (2019)
Agriculture is a multi-billiondollar industry in New York, which ranks among the top agricultural states in the country. New York is the second largest producer of apples, snap beans, and maple syrup, and is the third largest dairy producer in the nation. None of this would be possible without the workers who harvest the crops and operate the dairies.
Since 1938, New York’s labor law has excluded agricultural workers from fundamental protections that almost all other hourly workers receive. To get segregationist legislators to support his New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt explicitly carved out agricultural and domestic workers – primarily black workers at the time – from federal labor law. Subsequent state versions, including New York’s, retained this racist exclusion.
Eighty years later, New York farmworkers still lack the rights to a day of rest, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, sanitary housing, and collective bargaining. The Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, A.2750 (Nolan)/S.2837 (Ramos), would remove this unjust and immoral exclusion.