Statement of NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Victory for Farmworkers

Albany - Today is the culmination of a decades-long fight centered upon one simple premise: that farmworkers deserve fairness, equality and justice.

Today, justice was finally served.

We will never forget all of the farmworkers who have come forward through the years, many times at great risk to their livelihoods. They had the courage of their convictions to speak up for themselves and for others, to fight for what they believe in.

They have been a true inspiration for all New Yorkers throughout this fight. And it is their bravery and perseverance that we celebrate today and that has led us to this historic moment.

Twenty years ago, the New York State AFL-CIO joined elected officials and advocates in visiting New York farms. We witnessed the deplorable working and living conditions endured by one class of working people, farmworkers. The Labor Movement has been fighting for them ever since.

Farmworkers are finally getting basic labor rights including the right to organize a union, a mandatory day of rest, and the right to overtime pay. Organizing rights include absolute employer neutrality and binding interest arbitration.

Tens of thousands of lives will improve immediately and future generations of farmworkers will also benefit for years to come.

We thank the sponsors Assemblywoman Nolan and Senator Ramos, Speaker Heastie and Leader Stewart-Cousins for finally making farmworker justice a reality.