May 18, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Smithtown, NY – Farmworkers from Long Island kicked off a 200-mile march to Albany with a rally May 15 outside state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s district office in Smithtown.
The march, which will culminate with a June 1 rally in Albany, is demanding that the Senate pass legislation that would give farmworkers collective bargaining rights, guarantee at least one day off per week, and require overtime pay after eight hours a day. The bill, the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, was first introduced in 2010, but has never made it out of committee in the Republican-controlled Senate. “Basically, we are asking for the state to remove the exclusion of farm workers from labor law,” Katia Chapman, education coordinator with the Rural & Migrant Ministry, told Newsday, “and, importantly, that they will allow it to go to the floor for a vote.” Read more