Thursday, September 10, 2009

Take Action to Help NY State Farm Workers

In New York State, laws protecting workers categorically exclude farm workers from basic rights and protections leading to conditions that are one step from slavery.

Farm laborers often work 14 hour days, 7 days a week, at minimum wage, with no overtime pay, no right to form a union, no disability insurance coverage, and no right to a day of rest. Children who work in the fields can be paid $3.20 an hour, less than half of the $7.15 minimum wage.

The UFW is joining with a coalition of groups--including Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy and Founder of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights—who are working to change this injustice. "The Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act" (S.2247/A.1867) would finally grant farm workers rights equal to all other workres.

NY’s Governor Paterson said he will sign the bill if it crosses his desk. The bill had already passed by the Assembly. Organizers believe that they have enough votes for the bill to pass if it makes it to the senate floor.

Making it to the senate floor, however, is a big challenge. Opponents will do all they can to see the bill stalled in committee. That’s why we’re begging you to help the bill organizers by contacting key senators today.

When Robert Kennedy broke bread with Cesar Chavez in Delano ending Cesar’s fast, he said, “When your children and grandchildren take their place in America,--going to high school, and taking good jobs at good pay, when you look at them, you will say, ‘I did this. I was there at the point of difficulty and danger.’ And though you may be old and bent from many years of labor, no one will stand taller than you when you say ‘I marched with Cesar.’”

Please take action here. And, when you are old and bent you will turn to your children and grand children and say “I was there. I helped the farm workers."

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