VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – Democratic Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) was back in his district this week, in part to discuss farm issues. The 22nd covers Cortland, Chenango and part of Broome and Tioga Counties.
The trip home came amid a debate over farm workers rights. Last week a mid-level appeals court ruled farm workers in New York have the same collective bargaining rights as any other worker in the state.
Supporters say it’s unconstitutional to deny farm workers these rights. Before the session ends in a few weeks, Democrats at the state level now hope to pass a bill acknowledging those rights.
“My concern with some of the legislation that’s being considered right now at the state level is that the timing is really not good for farmers,” said Brindisi, noting farmers are already struggling with low milk prices and the impact of tariffs. “I fear that any additional regulation at the state level will accelerate the process of many of these farmers going out of business.”
Many Republicans in Albany agree with Brindisi. They want more input from farmers.
“We are calling for immediate hearings on the impact of this bill, so as to give the public, namely the many farmers who will be subject to this legislation, a chance to explain to the New York City-based legislators pushing this bill exactly what will happen if it passes,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said in a statement.
While the Senate bill is sponsored by Queens Democrat, Jessica Ramos, the bill isn’t only being pushed by downstate legislators. Ithaca-area Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is one of the co-sponsors in the Assembly.