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Farm Worker Supporters Want Floor Vote on Labor Bill

By Ryan Morden


Oswego, NY – Supporters of the "Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act" want the bill voted on in the state Senate before the legislature finishes this year's session.

Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, spoke at a rally in Albany earlier this week.

"Senator Sampson owes the workers of New York State a vote on their rights, and let the chips fall where they may," said Kennedy.

Among features of the bill, farmers would have to pay over time to laborers who worked more than 60 hours in a week or ten hours in a day, and farm workers would gain the right to form a union if they work at the state's largest farms.

Business groups oppose the bill, including Unshackle Upstate.

"New York needs to lower costs and taxes to become competitive in a global economy as we try to grow the state's economy out of this recession," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate in a statement.

The state Assembly passed the bill last year. This year, the farm labor bill made it to the Senate Agriculture Committee, where members voted not to advance the issue any further.

North Country Democrat, State Sen. Darrel Aubertine is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.