From New York Farm Bureau:
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher made the following comments July 21 concerning a lawsuit that seeks collective bargaining rights for farmworkers.
“New York Farm Bureau made a strong case today in State Supreme Court
in Albany, NY as to why the Court should dismiss the NYCLU lawsuit that
seeks collective bargaining rights for farmworkers. Our attorney
argued that our system of government requires that the legislature
change state law, not the courts. Our attorney also argued that the
State Labor Relations Act, as written, is constitutional.
the opportunity that the Court provided to us to argue the reasons for
dismissal, and we are hopeful that we will have a decision in our favor
"The court previously granted New York Farm Bureau intervenor status
to defend agriculture from the lawsuit after New York State abdicated
its duty. Our organization had petitioned the court last year to become a
defendant only after the Governor and Attorney General refused to
uphold and defend the State Labor Relations Act in court.
"New York Farm Bureau has long opposed farmworker collective
bargaining for one simple reason. Farms do not have a standard
eight-hour workday. This growing season has taught us that. Heavy
rains across New York have forced farmers and their employees to get in
every dry moment they can in the fields before the next storm cloud
arrives. Life inside the barn is no different.
"For instance, cows need
to be fed and milked every day. A farmworker strike or confining work
agreements can jeopardize a crop or the health of an animal. Everyone
who works in farming understands this. Added regulations will further
tie the hands of New York’s farmers and place them in a business
environment where it is becoming harder and harder to compete against
farmers from out of state and out of the country.
"Farmers have great respect for the people who they employ. If we are
to have a vibrant agricultural sector in New York that offers good job
opportunities, farms must be able to have a chance to succeed.
Collective bargaining will only make it more difficult to do that.
"New York Farm Bureau will continue to stand up for our members,
either in court or at the Capitol, to ensure that their voices are
heard,” Fisher said.