WGXC-90.7 FM

Advocates rally for farmworkers in Albany

May 07, 2019 11:30 am
Rachel Silberstein is reporting for the Times Union labor unions and advocates rallied at the state Capitol May 6, in favor of collective bargaining and overtime pay for New York's agricultural workers. Those workers have long been excluded from those protections. Labor groups have for years fought for the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, which guarantees worker compensation benefits and one day off a week. It also requires employers to pay overtime to those who work more than 40 hours a week or eight hours a day. The sponsor of the act, Democrat state Senator Jessica Ramos, hosted three hearings on the issue last month. Ramos said she met farmers who offer competitive pay and benefits to their workers, but said she also heard many stories of abuse. "There is no reason that in 2019, in a $5 billion dollar industry ... that if you work 60-70 hours a week, you should be living in poverty," she said. The bill has been in the Legislature for 20 years, but never came up for a vote in the Senate during Republican control. The measure now has majority support in both chambers and is backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ramos said she intends to deliver the bill to Cuomo for signature by the end of the legislative session. Read the full story in the Times Union.