Agricultural workers seek to receive labor law protection

There are certain types of jobs in which employers assert that it is all-but impossible to allow their workers to unionize. With these jobs, there are frequently abuses perpetrated against these workers and they are a violation of labor law whether the workers have unionized or not. Often, the workers will try to form a labor union to be granted the rights and protections they otherwise might not get. Workers who are seeking these rights should discuss their case with an experienced labor attorney.

Farmworkers in New York have filed a lawsuit to have the right to organize as a unit. The case was spurred by a 22-year-old man who claims to have endured numerous abuses and injustices in his time working on a farm milking cows. He worked 12 straight hours, did not have breaks, did not receive treatment for an injury, and had to pay for the proper gloves to do the work in a safe manner. He was dismissed from the job when he tried to organize his fellow workers with meetings.

The goal of the case is to help agricultural workers to be able to collectively bargain. With collective bargaining, these workers would have a normal eight-hour workday, have the right to receive overtime, have a rest day during the work, receive unemployment and workers' compensation rights, and certain basic standards. The New York Farm Bureau is against the proposed legislation to grant workers these rights. The man who sparked the case lived on the farm at which he worked and was dismissed when he tried to organize other workers. He was given four days to leave the property and it was all due to the desire to be compensated for purchasing the protective gloves.

For people who work in agricultural jobs and other types of employment that are generally relegated to immigrants or those considered manual workers, they might not know that they have certain rights under the law. Employers who try to deprive workers of those basic rights can be sued. If there is a situation in which labor law is being violated, it is important to discuss the case with a legal professional who is experienced in employment litigation.

Source:, "Lawsuit Seeks to Win Organizing Rights for New York's Farmworkers," Kate Pastor, July 7, 2017

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