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!