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State Legislature poised to pass farmworkers' rights bill

Jun 18, 2019 12:30 pm
Bill Mahoney is reporting for Politico New York a deal on legislation to give farmworkers many of the same rights as New York’s other hourly employees contains several compromises, but fundamentally reimagines the way the state statute deals with agricultural labor. Both the state Assembly and Senate plan to approve the measure before the week is over, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it. “We crafted a bill that really speaks to the reality of the agricultural economy in the state of New York right now, allowing for farmworkers to have the basic rights that every other worker has while taking into account the realities of farms,” said Senate sponsor Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat. “So we wanted to make sure it was a bill that works for everyone.” The compromises include the provision that time-and-a-half pay kicks in after 60 hours of work. “Just having an overtime trigger in New York is big because these people had nothing,” Ramos said. The final version also contains language that gives farmworkers the right to organize and includes a prohibition on lockouts. However, there is also language prohibiting strikes, which farmers have said would be potentially disastrous. The measure also includes a requirement to give farmworkers the option of taking a day off each week, though they would be allowed to work the whole week if they are paid time-and-a-half for the seventh day. It also extends paid family leave to agricultural employees. Read the full story at Politico New York.