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Catholic Bishop Joins Farmworkers In Push For Overtime, Union Options

 Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Ed Scharfenberger
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Albany Bishop Ed Scharfenberger joined farmworkers rallying Thursday at New York's Capitol for legislation to guarantee them overtime pay while removing the state's ban on their union organizing.

Some farmworkers have been on a two week march from Long Island to Albany, saying they need the same legal protections as other workers.

Members of Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese led by Scharfenberger were also on hand.

The New York constitution guarantees workers the right to unionize, but state law excludes its 60,000 agricultural workers.

About 10,000 of the state's 35,500 farms hire them and are required to pay New York's $9 minimum wage.

The New York Farm Bureau says additional costs of overtime in short, weather-driven seasons and union rules would drive some farms out of business.

© 2016 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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