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Appellate Court: NY farmworkers have right to unionize

David Sommerstein
NCPR File Photo
About 40 farm workers and advocates march to the front gates of a New York farm to protest alleged worker abuses.

A mid-level appeals court has declared that farmworkers have the same right to unionize as all other workers in New York State.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Albany ruled Thursday that a carve-out in state labor law excluding farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is unconstitutional.

The New York Civil Liberties Union represented fired dairy worker Crispin Hernandez in the cased filed against the state in 2016. The state Farm Bureau stepped in to defend the state labor law when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to, calling the law unconstitutional.

Cuomo and State Attorney General Letitia James praised Thursday's decision. The Farm Bureau said it will appeal to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

Lawmakers are considering legislation granting farmworkers the same rights as other workers.

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