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Court backs farmworkers ability to organize

The state Appellate Court on Thursday backed the ability of workers in New York’s agricultural sector to collectively bargaining and join labor unions.

The development was cheered by supporters of a bill meant to expand labor rights and benefits to farm workers, but blasted by the New York Farm Bureau, which promised to appeal.

The ruling comes as Democratic state lawmakers in the coming weeks are pushing for a vote a farm workers labor bill that would provide similar collective bargaining protections and allow workers on farms to be eligible for overtime.

“It is of utmost importance that the New York State Legislature step up and pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act to codify the labor rights that farmworkers have been waiting on for decades, including a day of rest, overtime pay, unemployment benefits, and the right to collectively bargain,” said Sen. Jessica Ramos, the Queens Democrat who sponsors the legislation.

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