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May 20, 2019 - 2:06pm

Hawley repeats calls for Assembly hearings on farm worker unionization

posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, steve hawley, news, farmworkers, business.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley's office:

Following increasing pressure from Downstate lawmakers to overturn an 80-year law and allow farm workers to unionize, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is again calling for statewide public hearings to be conducted by the Assembly before any vote is proposed to make such a sweeping change to one of New York’s largest industries. 

The former owner/operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia was one of the first legislators to sign onto the Assembly Minority’s letter requesting public hearings on unionization.

“Growing up as a generational farmer in Western New York and eventually owning and operating our family farm, I am confident that unionization would harm our industry and force more family-owned operations to close,” Hawley said.

“Farming is unique in its demands, its work schedule, its earnings structure and its labor needs, and to impose blanket requirements to make it congruent with other industries simply may not work in the agricultural model.”

Hawley, a longtime member of the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, has been in conversations with Chairwoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) to hold public hearings for several weeks.

“I suspect that the New York City lawmakers pushing this legislation have very little experience on a farm and we need statewide hearings to ensure that current farmers, their employees and members of the agriculture community are heard before any decisions are made,” Hawley said.

Scott Chismar
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This is awesome news for Farm Workers across the state! For those folks that follow the legislative successes of Assemblymember Hawley, or read TheBatavian regularly, you know that much of his time is spent issuing press releases for things happening that he disagrees with and blames downstate Democrats for all of the woes in the state. The fact that he issued this release gives me hope that the bill will pass after all.

I wonder when he reaches out to Chairwoman Lupardo, if she will tell him to go pound salt. I mean when he constantly bashes the other side. what incentive does she have for entertaining any meeting requested by him? It reminds me of the boy who kills his parents and begs for leniency because he is an orphan.

It is actually kind of refreshing to read how Hawley is proudly admitting his anti-union bias. At least Senator Ortt was much more polished and refined in his opposition to the bill. He had the mindset to at least say that his opposition was because he was protecting farm owners and their interests. But nope, not Hawley. He comes right out and bashes organized labor.

Instead of sitting back comfortably and issuing press releases maybe Hawley should think about who he just offended by his anti union bias. The men and women that fight crime and put out our fires are union. The deputies forced to watch over inmates at the jail? Union. The folks that do an awesome job of plowing our streets of snow and fixing our roads? Union. The people delivering our mail and UPS packages? Union. Those making our dairy products at Oatka or delivering our cookies and crackers from Nabisco? Union.

Who knows what will happen with Corrupt Chris Collins, but if Hawley does decide to enter the race for the 27th District, I hope all workers, union and non-union alike will see his disdain for everyday working Americans.

Overtime pay, unemployment insurance, safe housing, ability to form a union, workers compensation, and a day off each work are demand that would only be considered outrageous by farm owners who are currently taking advantage of farm workers, or politicians who have anti-worker agendas.

And for those of you who will feel compelled to vote thumbs down, I ask you to state why the items listed in the Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act are something you disagree with. Please help enlighten me. Because I currently believe that those of you in this category somehow think the folks employed in the fields are not real human beings with desires and families and dreams. And also ask yourself, what would your reaction be if your employer told you that you will no longer be covered by workers compensation, unemployment, overtime provisions, and all health and safety provisions are gone? Oh yeah, and you now had to work 7 days a week!

Most of you have these protections now. They are simply trying to obtain what you have.

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