Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Justice for Farmworkers

We received the following from the Labor-Religion Coalition. It is a statement by Rural and Migrant Ministry, on behalf of the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign:
The Senate rules reforms hold great promise for action on long-pending, important human and civil rights issues that-despite widespread support-have never been brought to the Senate floor for a debate and vote. With massive popular support and a bipartisan group of 28 sponsors from all across New York, the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act is Exhibit A in this regard.

The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act would remove the labor law exclusions that for decades have denied farmworkers the same rights as other workers. Results of a statewide poll conducted last month show that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support extending overtime (79%), day of rest (91%), collective bargaining (69%, with only 17% opposed), and disability insurance (85%) protections to farmworkers. Support was consistent across upstate and downstate regions.

In a letter dated June 21 asking Governor Paterson to include farmworker rights on the special session agenda, former farmworker and longtime leader in the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign Librada Paz wrote, "The Justice for Farmworkers Campaign has had many years of marching, praying, hoping, and lobbying. Farmworkers should not have to wait any longer. This year we must harvest all of our efforts." The Governor responded by including the equal rights bill on his special session proclamation.

In a letter to the Senate, Mayor Bloomberg's Director of Legislative Affairs, Michelle Goldstein, writes, "This Act would go a long way towards correcting an injustice that has left farm workers without the basic protections that are taken for granted by other workers...For too long farm workers have labored with only minimal protections...It is our hope that you will act quickly to ensure the passage of this important and overdue legislation."

The entire statement is available here. We urge you to contact your legislators. Just type your Zip Code into the box on the right and you will receive the contact information for your elected officials (not just Congress).