NY Court Affirms Farmworkers' Right to Organize!

May 24, 2019 — Farmworkers in the New York State reclaim their right to organize and collective bargain! Alianza celebrates this historic win and the work of member organizations who championed and supported these efforts.  

Yesterday, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Court upheld state farmworkers’ fundamental right to organize. While most workers possess the right to unionize, since the 1930s, agricultural and domestic workers have been excluded from basic labor protections through the State Employment Relations Act, a law that is remnant of the Jim Crow era.

The NY court decision, which declares that denying farmworkers the right to organize is unconstitutional, ends an almost-one-hundred-year ban on organizing.

Alianza is proud of our member organizations’ leadership and of our contribution to the process! Organizational Members of our alliance, Workers’ Center of Central New York  and Worker Justice Center of NY, along with campesino leader, Crispin Hernandez, brought this case forward as plaintiffs. Additionally, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas joined co-founding member organization, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, in filing an amicus curiae, friend of the court brief, last summer. With interviews from farmworkers from member organizations--such as Dolores Bustamante from Mujeres Divinas-- informing the brief, the document further amplified the voices and experiences of farmworkers that guide these efforts.

We commend the NY Courts’ decision and look to other jurisdictions to follow suit to protect agricultural workers against laws that systematically exclude them and other low-wage workers from basic rights. This victory only reaffirms the power that farmworkers and their families hold when they are able to come together and organize. We will continue to support these efforts and that of our member organizations in bringing about necessary change for our farmworker communities. CAMPESINAS UNITE!


700,000 Female Farmworkers Say They Stand With Hollywood Actors Against Sexual Assault

Published by Time Magazine on November 10, 2017 at http://time.com/5018813/farmworkers-solidarity-hollywood-sexual-assault/

In the lead up to “The Take Back the Workplace” march in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, Latina farmworkers have written a letter of solidarity to the brave women and men in Hollywood who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The upcoming event is organized by the Feminist Majority Foundation, Civican, and We for She. It aims to shed more light on instances of sexual harassment in the workplace and call out those who commit it, allow it and help cover it up.

Dear Sisters,

We write on behalf of the approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States. For the past several weeks we have watched and listened with sadness as we have learned of the actors, models and other individuals who have come forward to speak out about the gender based violence they’ve experienced at the hands of bosses, coworkers and other powerful people in the entertainment industry. We wish that we could say we’re shocked to learn that this is such a pervasive problem in your industry. Sadly, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well. Countless farmworker women across our country suffer in silence because of the widespread sexual harassment and assault that they face at work.

We do not work under bright stage lights or on the big screen. We work in the shadows of society in isolated fields and packinghouses that are out of sight and out of mind for most people in this country. Your job feeds souls, fills hearts and spreads joy. Our job nourishes the nation with the fruits, vegetables and other crops that we plant, pick and pack.

Even though we work in very different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security. Like you, there are few positions available to us and reporting any kind of harm or injustice committed against us doesn’t seem like a viable option. Complaining about anything — even sexual harassment — seems unthinkable because too much is at risk, including the ability to feed our families and preserve our reputations.

We understand the hurt, confusion, isolation and betrayal that you might feel. We also carry shame and fear resulting from this violence. It sits on our backs like oppressive weights. But, deep in our hearts we know that it is not our fault. The only people at fault are the individuals who choose to abuse their power to harass, threaten and harm us, like they have harmed you.

In these moments of despair, and as you cope with scrutiny and criticism because you have bravely chosen to speak out against the harrowing acts that were committed against you, please know that you’re not alone. We believe and stand with you.

In solidarity,

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas is an organization comprised of current and former farmworker women, along with women who hail from farmworker families.