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June 21, 2016

State Farm Bureau Will Intervene in New York Labor Lawsuit [VIDEO]

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The New York Farm Bureau (NYFB) announced this week that it will attempt to intervene and defend farmers in a lawsuit that supports farm workers’ right to unionize.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in May he would not fight the lawsuit, even though it challenges state law. NYFB is seeking legal standing and intervenor status in the case precisely because Cuomo won’t defend state law.

NYFB released this statement: "NYFB is taking this major step to defend farmers who feel they have been abandoned by the governor and attorney general. Both leaders have made public statements supporting the lawsuit and refusing to defend state law, despite its importance to agriculture in New York State. NYFB believes it has the right to intervene, because the interest of its members will not be represented by the defendants, and our members will be harmed in the event the plaintiffs prevail in this action.

We believe the exemption of farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and that the exclusion of farmworkers from the State Labor Relations Act law is based on decades of rational public policy and legal precedent that will be outlined in both motions to intervene and to dismiss.

NYFB believes that the legal precedent is clear. This is not a question for the courts, and the New York Civil Liberties Union is attempting to make an end-run around the legislature, which has not approved collective bargaining for farmworkers despite numerous opportunities."

Read our July/August MILK story on the lawsuit here.