On Monday, the Assembly passed the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which would give agricultural workers collective bargaining rights.  Though the bill has passed the Assembly in prior sessions, it has never been approved by the Senate.

The Farm Bureau of New York State opposes the bill, calling it “a vote against New York’s hard working farm families and the farm workers employed.”  They argue that “attempting to apply overtime and collective bargaining rules that exist for factories are not appropriate or suitable for our state’s farms.”

Unshackle Upstate has joined with the Farm Bureau in opposing this measure.  New York farmers simply cannot afford additional mandates that put their businesses at competitive disadvantages, especially for food production, which is now a global marketplace rather than a local one. The import share of U.S. consumed food has recently climbed from 8% to more than 11%. Mexico is now the source of 27 percent of U.S. fruit imports and 38 percent of vegetable imports. It is no surprise that the import share of U.S. consumed food has largely been of food which is not often mechanically harvested.

The vast majority of New York farms are family owned.  And nearly all of them are located in our great region, Upstate New York.  We cannot let this effort, led by elected officials from New York City that have likely never even been on a farm, see the floor in the State Senate.

Call your Senator today and tell them you oppose any effort that will harm our farms.  This is simply not the right approach for the state to be taking.