Basic rights for New York’s farmworkers!

Dear friend of the NYCLU,

As we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day and prepare to enjoy spring’s bounty at our local greenmarkets, it’s worth taking a minute to think about those who harvested those greens and picked that asparagus.

Take action

More than 30 years after Chavez led a movement tosecure rights for agricultural workers, farmworkers in New York State still lack many basic labor rights most New Yorkers take for granted.

Stand up for the tens of thousands of farmworkers who toil in the fields and languish in the sun so we can enjoy fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and yogurt. Tell state lawmakers to pass the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act.

Farmworkers play an essential role in our state’s $4 billion agricultural economy. Yet they lack the most basic rights – the right to fair pay, a humane work schedule, safe working conditions, and the right to organize a union and collectively bargain.

The labor laws governing farmworkers date back to the Jim Crow era when segregationists withheld their support for New Deal reforms unless farm laborers – then primarily black people – were excluded. The exclusion of farmworkers from labor law protections remains to this day.

To make matters worse, farmworkers work in extreme conditions. They are seven times more likely than other workers to die from a work-related injury. The pay for farm work is so low that about 40 percent of those in the Hudson Valley report they work multiple jobs yet still fall below the poverty level.

That farmworkers are excluded from the labor laws of New York State is a disgrace. Contact your lawmakers today and tell them you support the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act.

Thank you for all that you do,

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union