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Farmworkers Seeking Support For Overtime, Union Options

This is a picture of cattle on a farm

New York farmworkers are hoping a legal challenge might tip the scales in their favor after years of protesting a state law that prevents them from unionizing.

Nearly 100 advocates and migrant workers rallied at the Capitol Tuesday against a loophole in state law that prevents them from organizing for better working conditions and overtime pay.

Longtime opponent New York Farm Bureau has blocked efforts to change the law, arguing small farms cannot afford the higher labor costs and strikes that might ensue.

The New York Civil Liberties Union last year filed a lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both Democrats, have said they would not seek to defend the law.

The Farm Bureau has filed a motion for the lawsuit's dismissal.

© 2017 AP

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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