Monday, April 05, 2010


Tonight, I visited the Economic/Tourism Committee of the Legislature. I am not on the committee, but you all know how I love attending meetings.
One of the final issues addressed was [get this] a memorializing resolution! Yes...another one.

I know, they are warm and fuzzy toothless memorandums that we send to other elected bodies across the nation. We usually spend more time on them during caucus and session than the $6 million Bonds, but another one goes through committee anyway.

This one? Asking the Assembly and Senate to reject the Farm Workers Rights Bill.
This bill would amend the labor law by removing farm laborers from the list of workers excluded from coverage under the New York State Labor Relations Act.

What does this mean? Farm laborers are currently excluded from the protected categories of workers covered by the Labor Relations Act, they are not guaranteed the rights given to other workers by section 703 of the Act. These rights include “the right of self organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in concerted activities, for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, free from interference, restraint, or coercion of employers.”

A YES vote for the resolution is to be interpreted as pro farmer. Subsequently a NO vote would be the opposite. I don't see it that way. Neither do several of the Democratic Caucus members. Maybe we should amend it to read as an endorsement of the Bill; see how many votes we get. That would be fun.

Farmers are not happy with the direction the State Legislature is heading on this one. So why bring the issue back to us by having this on the agenda?

One friend on the Committee mentioned that a portion of the workers dont want the bill either. We later agreed that the two factors that may drive that little anecdote would be pressure from the farmers who are threatening their jobs and the fact that many would have to provide documentation if this were enacted in order to be eligible for the new labor regulations.

I just shake my head and chuckle.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the new Republican "Leadership" doesn't want to do anything except take political stands. Memorializing resolutions are meaningless fluff. Where's the beef? Who is next in line for a memorializing resolution? Which ideological position will be brought out next? I would not be surprised to see a resolution denouncing the just passed health care reform.

The Democrats presented memorializing resolutions when they were in charge too, but as I recall the Democrats wasted no time in enacting significant laws and resolutions that will have long lasting positive effects on the well being of the residents. There was some beef to go along with it.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about farm workers rights. What about our rights as taxpayers

Anonymous said...

You certainly are a meeting maker! It was good to see you at the KC Common Council meeting. My [somewhat educated] guess is that you are a true asset to the UC Legislative body. Thank you for all you do.