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NYCLU sues Cuomo, state over farmworkers' rights

May 12, 2016 12:02 am
Matthew Hamilton in Capitol Confidential reports that the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the state not allowing farmworkers to organize. Cuomo, it seems, agrees with the NYCLU, saying in a statement May 10 that the flaw in the state labor relations law is “unacceptable,” and may be a violation of the state Constitution. “I agree with the NYCLU that the exclusion of farm workers from the labor relations act is inconsistent with our constitutional principles, and my administration will not be defending the act in court,” Cuomo said. “We will not tolerate the abuse or exploitation of workers in any industry. This clear and undeniable injustice must be corrected.” The New York Farm Bureau was not happy with Cuomo's statement. “The NYCLU’s assertions regarding farmers and their treatment of their employees are erroneous, insulting and disparaging and we are frustrated that the governor’s statement does not even recognize this fact,” Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said in a statement. “Up until now, he has publicly praised the dairy industry and agriculture in general for the good jobs that they create. It should also be pointed out that farmworkers are not the only employee class that does not have the ability to collectively bargain by virtue of the nature of their job. The governor’s position, in choosing not defend the state’s labor law, represents a disservice to farmers that make up the backbone of our rural economy.” Read the full story in Capitol Confidential.
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