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Hispanic Federation Helps Lead March for Farmworkers’ Rights

Farmworkers in New York State, many of them immigrants, some of them undocumented, work 60 to 80 hours per week, without workmen’s compensation, without being paid for overtime, without the right to organize, without the right to negotiate collective bargaining agreements. In short, they are the backbone of our state’s agricultural economy but are treated as worse than second-class workers.

Hispanic Federation has been working with community, faith-based and elected leaders across the state to pass the Farmworker Fair Labor and Practices Act. This law would extend basic labor rights (day of rest, overtime, collective bargaining and others) to farmworkers in New York. It’s the right thing to do and thanks to the efforts of a broad coalition of leaders, we have come close to passing the law in Albany.

This year, we’re closer than ever before to passing this important piece of legislation. But we need a final push. Hispanic Federation has joined with the Rural and Migrant Ministry to launch a March for Farmworker Justice. The eighteen-day-long march, organized by Rural and Migrant Ministry, began Sunday in Smithtown, Long Island and ends in Albany on June 1st. The march will include a large rally on March 21st in New York City in order to raise awareness of the farmworkers’ plight. “We have worked to get this legislation approved for many years and, while we have fallen short, we have never given up,” said HF President José Calderón. We are closer now than ever before and Governor Cuomo has signaled that he understand that farmworkers deserve the same labor protections as other workers in New York State. This march will help us to educate legislators in Albany about the bill and the reasons why it’s so important to farmworkers and their families.

For more information on the March for Farmworker Justice, please contact Diana Caba, Director of Economic Empowerment.