New York, NY – Twelve farmworkers at the Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, New York have made history by organizing with Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW.
“My coworkers at Pindar and I joined Local 338 because we want dignity and respect,” Vineyards worker and pioneering trade unionist Rodolfo M. said. “Our work should be valued and only by receiving equal treatment and things like sick days and paid time off to spend with our loved ones will it be. We know that being a union member will help us get the recognition we deserve for all of our efforts.”
This is the first union certification in New York State after the 2019 passage of The Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which grants agricultural and farm workers the right to collectively bargain. Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, first filed to represent the vineyard’s field workers on May 28, 2021.
The New York State Employment Relations Board [PERB] certified the union on Sept. 27.
“When New York passed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, there was a fundamental understanding that agricultural workers needed key protections that they have lacked for decades, including the right to join a union,” Local 338 President John Durso said in a statement. “PERB’s historic certification is the next step in securing dignity and respect for the essential workers who ensure we have food and beverages on our tables. We are incredibly proud to represent the workers at Pindar Vineyards and are looking forward to securing a strong collective bargaining agreement.”
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum characterized the new certification as the culmination of a decades-long struggle to win farmworkers rights in the Empire State — with more union victories to come.
“For the first time we can call farmworkers in New York State union members,” Appelbaum said. “For far too long, farmworkers have worked to nourish our communities without necessary workplace protections for themselves or their families. It was a decades-long struggle to win farmworkers’ right to organize in this state, and now workers at Pindar Vineyards are seeing the seeds they planted come to fruition by becoming the first in the state to be recognized as a union. Now they can begin negotiating the first ever union contract for farm workers in New York. The workers at Pindar Vineyards have made history and are the beginning of what we are sure will be a growing union presence for the state’s farmworkers.”