Chautauqua County Democratic chairman supports labor act

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Democratic Committee Chair Norman P. Green Friday blasted the New York State Rural Conference’s officers and board of directors who went on record today opposing the passing of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.

“While Chautauqua County is a member of the DRC, I absolutely 100% support passage of the FFLPA and I support the idea that all workers, even farm workers, deserve to be covered by minimum wage standards. Yes our farmers need help, but not at the cost of substandard wages and conditions for farm workers. Let’s use the tax code and/or outright grants if needed to prop our farmers. Let’s look at farm polices as a whole.

“Judith Hunter does not speak for all rural Democrats, nor all rural Democratic County political committeess. I am a Democratic leader who stands today and will stand tomorrow with the working people of rural New York,” concluded Green.

The Farm workers Fair Labor Practices Act has been kicking around Albany for 20 years and was consistently blocked by upstate Republicans. Now that the state legislature has a Democratic majority, the bill appears likely to pass. The bill gives all New York State farm workers collective bargaining rights for the first time, along with overtime pay, one day off each week and access to unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

The DRC was founded in 1996 to represent Democrats in counties in New York with populations of 250,000 or less (47 of New York’s 62 counties). Agriculture is the most important industry in many of these counties and farm workers are an important constituent that needs the Democratic Party to advocate for them.