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New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento: The Fight For Farmworkers Continues

Published Thursday, March 5, 2020
by New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento: The Fight For Farmworkers Continues

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, has released the following message in regards to the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act and upcoming scheduled hearings across New York:

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 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)/United Food and Commercials Workers (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 New York State AFL-CIO is working with the executive and legislature to address these issues and make the lawsuit moot.

The New York State 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 New York State 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 New York State 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.

Farm Laborers Wage Board Hearings - All hearings will begin at 11 a.m.:

Friday, March 13th, 2020 - Onondaga Community College, Storer Auditorium, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse

Monday, March 23rd, 2020 - Binghamton University, Symposium Hall, Center of Excellence Building Innovative Technology Complex, 45 Murray Hill Road, Vestal

Thursday, April 16th, 2020- Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independent Hill, Farmingville

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020- Geneseo Community College, William Stuart Forum, One College Road, Batavia

Those interested in testifying can RSVP to the New York State Department of Labor at:



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