News

The 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO announced the endorsements of candidates running for office in the November 3, 2020 elections. 

After last year’s historic passage of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, it is important that we continue to advocate on behalf of farmworkers as the law is implemented and ensure that farmworkers can exercise their right to form unions. We proudly stand with the RWDSU/UFCW which is actively organizing farmworkers in order to improve their lives.

Unfortunately, a lawsuit was filed shortly after the law took effect. Among other things, opponents of the law challenged its application to family members of farm owners and supervisors. Despite the lawsuit, the law has taken effect. The Governor has proposed language in the executive budget proposal that would clarify the challenged language. The NYS AFL-CIO is working with the executive and legislature to address these issues and make the lawsuit moot.

The NYS AFL-CIO is also continuing work to make sure that farmworkers are treated equally. The law implemented a threshold for overtime pay for farmworkers at 60 hours per week, in an attempt to smooth the transition for employers.   However, the law also provided a mechanism to improve on the 60-hour work week by establishing a farmworker wage board empowered to reduce the threshold. Former NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes was appointed to the wage board. The wage board will hear input from stakeholders and is empowered to reduce the 60-hour threshold. The NYS AFL-CIO will continue to fight for a 40-hour work week. The Wage board is scheduled to meet over the next several weeks. The schedule and locations are listed. We encourage interested affiliates to attend and testify on behalf of the farmworkers.

We thank all our affiliates for their past and continued support in making sure farmworkers are treated with dignity and respect.

Mario Cilento, President

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly supports inclusion of a labor peace agreement as the centerpiece of legislation to establish a legal and well-regulated adult-use cannabis market in the state. Further, current unionized medical cannabis companies that have already invested and created jobs in New York should be authorized to lead the way in all phases of the new cannabis industry.