The Fight to Uphold the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act in Federal Court in New York

November 24, 2023 By admin Off

The day after Thanksgiving in 1960, Edward R. Murrow and CBS News aired the documentary “Harvest of Shame,” exposing the unfair treatment of American farmworkers. These workers were excluded from New Deal labor reforms, leaving them with no minimum wage, overtime pay, or right to organize. Over 63 years later, farmworkers in New York still await full equality, but progress has been made. In 2019, the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act granted collective bargaining rights to farmworkers and recognized their unions. The last hurdle is overtime pay, which will phase in gradually over a decade, starting on Jan. 1, when the first reduction from 60 hours to 56 hours occurs. Some growers are suing to exempt foreign seasonal farmworkers, but New York law applies to everyone in the state. Despite initial federal resistance, New York is pushing for higher labor standards, and the state should stand firm in protecting the rights of farmworkers.