Leadership Letter to Senate re: Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act

June 13, 2016

Honorable John Flanagan
Majority Leader
New York State Senate
State Capitol Building 330
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Majority Leader Flanagan:

We the undersigned Latino, immigrant, labor, faith-based and civil rights leaders from across the State of New York write to urge you to bring the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act (S. 1291) to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of the 2016 legislative session. We are counting on your leadership to guide New York in the right direction and help remove the statutory exclusions denying farmworkers the right to collective bargaining, a day of rest, overtime pay, disability and unemployment insurance, and other fundamental rights bestowed upon all other workers in the state.

Nearly eighty years have passed since Jim Crow-era racial bias caused farmworkers to be excluded from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and other important New Deal protections. New York has perpetuated the exclusion of farmworkers from labor rights, while generously supporting the agricultural industry with tax breaks and subsidies. Let 2016 be the year that marks the end of this shameful legacy of exclusion, and allows us to say with moral certainty that New York honors the dignity of all.

As you have previously indicated support for these workers and this legislation, we call on you to bring the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act to the floor. With twenty-nine co-sponsors and several other Senators indicating support, this is the best chance we have to pass this important legislation. The power is solely in your hands. Please do the right thing and bring the bill to the floor. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Raul Russi
Chief Executive Officer
Acacia Network

Paul Quintero
Chief Executive Officer
ACCION East, Inc.

Jesus Aguais
Executive Director and Founder
Aid for AIDS

Bro. Joel Magellan
Executive Director
Asociación Tepeyac de New York

Mark Gonzalez
Executive Director
ASPIRA of New York

Gil Bernardino
Founder and Executive Director
Circulo de la Hispanidad

Danny Donahue
President
Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000, AFSCME

Denise Rosario
Executive Director
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services

Grace C. Bonilla
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families

Soledad Hiciano
Executive Director
Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP)

Maria Elisa Cuadra-Fernandez
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Community Organization for Parents and Youth (COPAY)

Henry Garrido
Executive Director
District Council 37

Jose Tejada
Executive Director
Dominico-American Society

Rosita Romero
Executive Director
Dominican Women’s Development Center

Ann Heekin
President
Don Bosco Workers Inc. of Port Chester, New York

Raul Rodriguez
Executive Director
East Harlem Council for Community Improvement

Frances Lucerna
Executive Director
El Puente

Julio Medina
Executive Director
Exodus Transitional Community, Inc

Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Executive Director
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Jose Calderon
President
Hispanic Federation

Eugenio Russi
Executive Director
Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo

Suleika Cabrera-Drinane
President and Chief Executive Officer
Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly

Sonia Ivany
President Emeritus
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement – NYC

Guillermo Chacon
Executive Director
Latino Commission on AIDS

Juan Cartagena
President and General Counsel
LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Lymaris Albors
Director of Project Management, Communications and External Affairs
Loisaida

Anita Halasz
Executive Director
Long Island Jobs with Justice

Stephen J. Stritch III
Executive Director
Mercy Center

Pablo Alvarado
Executive Director
National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Jessica González-Rojas
Executive Director
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union

Ernesto Loperena
Executive Director
New York Council on Adoptable Children

Steve Choi
Executive Director
New York Immigration Coalition

Richard Barnes
Executive Director
New York State Catholic Conference

Angela Fernandez
Executive Director
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Barbara Bowen
President
Professional Staff Congress/AFT Local 2334

Yolanda Alicea-Winn
Executive Director
Puerto Rican Family Institute

Dr. Anderson Torres
Chief Executive Officer
Regional Aid for Interim Needs (RAIN)

Reverend Richard Witt
Executive Director
Rural and Migrant Ministry

Ramon Peguero
Executive Director
Southside United HDFC (Los Sures)

Lisette Sosa-Dickson
Executive Director
Spanish Speaking Elderly Council – RAICES

Joyce Rivera
Executive Director
St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction

Gonzalo Mercado
Director
Staten Island Community Job Center

George Miranda
President
Teamsters Joint Council 16

Dr. Ian Amritt
Executive Director
Unitas Therapeutic Community

Bill Granfield
President
UNITE HERE Local 100

Elizabeth Yeampierre
Executive Director
UPROSE

Cecilia Gaston
Executive Director
Violence Intervention Program

Lewis Papenfuse
Executive Director
Worker Justice Center of New York