First farmworker union forms in New York state


by Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio, The Counter



Pindar Vineyards on Long Island became the first agricultural workplace to unionize.


Twelve workers at a Long Island vineyard became the first agricultural workers to form part of a labor union in New York State. On Sept. 27, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, to represent these workers, who are employed at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, New York.


“My coworkers at Pindar and I joined Local 338 because we want dignity and respect. 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,” Rodolfo M., Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member and worker at Pindar Vineyards, said in a statement. “We know that being a union member will help us get the recognition we deserve for all of our efforts.”


Farmworkers fought for years to have the legal power to unionize in New York State. Finally, in 2019, the state passed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which gave agricultural and farm workers the right to collectively bargain, and granted them workers’ compensation as well as unemployment benefits. In late May of 2021, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW first filed to represent the Pindar Vineyards fieldworkers, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said.


State Senator Jessica Ramos, who campaigned strongly for the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, applauded the move, saying...


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