Torneo de Fútbol/Soccer Tournament!

Sunday, July 16 at 8 AM – 4 PM

Christian Brothers Academy (DeWitt, New York), 6245 Randall Rd, DeWitt, New York 13214

The Workers’ Center of CNY will be hosting it’s 3rd annual soccer tournament fundraiser! This family friendly event will be filled with soccer, food and music! All of the proceeds go towards supporting immigrant worker organizing in New York State. We will have more details about how to register a team, registration costs, and more. But for now, SAVE THE DATE and start working on your soccer skills!!

Milked Brown Bag Lunch

New York’s dairy production and processing industry generates $14 billion a year and is the star sector of the state’s agricultural economy. But a new study released this month finds that the immigrant workers who provide milking labor on which the industry heavily depends are themselves being “milked.”

Join researchers and immigration and labor advocates to find out more about the report findings and about what we can do next to support the rights of immigrant dairy workers in New York.

Speakers:
Héctor Figueroa, President, SEIU 32BJ
Rebecca Fuentes, Workers’ Center of CNY
Carly Fox, Worker Justice Center of NY
Crispin Hernández, Victoriano Hernández, farmworkers

The study, Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State, is based upon a face-to-face survey with 88 workers across 53 different farms located in the Central, Northern, and Western regions of New York State. It was coauthored by a team of academic scholars and community leaders: Carly Fox of the Worker Justice Center of New York, Rebecca Fuentes of the Workers’ Center of Central New York, Fabiola Ortiz Valdez and Gretchen Purser, both of Syracuse University, and Kathleen Sexsmith of Cornell University.

Hard copies of the report will be available at the event; electronic copies are available at www.milkedny.org.

Facebook RSVP Here

For more information, contact: Carly Fox, cfox@wjcny.org, 585-500-9409

Photo Gallery: “MILKED” PRESS CONFERENCE ON JUNE 1ST.

PRESS CONFERENCE ON JUNE 1ST.

Thank you to all who joined us on the first day of National Dairy Month for the release of our report “Milked: Dairy Farmworkers in New York State.” We had lots of press attending the conference and lots of people are now reading the report, sharing and taking action. Here are some pictures from the press conference. Thanks to our friend Sally Currant for sharing them with us.

Milk Cows, Not Workers! Report on the Conditions of Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in NY State Released

(photo credit: Sally Currant)

For Immediate Release | June 1, 2017

Propelled by the much-heralded “yogurt boom,” New York’s dairy production and processing industry generates $14 billion a year and is the star sector of the state’s agricultural economy. But a new study, to be released today at the start of National Dairy Month, finds that the immigrant workers who provide milking labor on which the industry heavily depends are themselves being “milked.”

The study, Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State, is based upon a face-to-face survey with 88 workers across 53 different farms located in the Central, Northern, and Western regions of New York State. It was coauthored by a team of academic scholars and community leaders: Carly Fox of the Worker Justice Center of New York, Rebecca Fuentes of the Workers’ Center of Central New York, Fabiola Ortiz Valdez and Gretchen Purser, both of Syracuse University, and Kathleen Sexsmith of Cornell University.

The report presents a concerning picture of the working and living conditions on New York dairy farms, and it does so by highlighting the rarely-heard voices of the workers themselves. As one worker proclaimed, “We immigrants do the dirty, heavy, and low paid work behind the gallons of milk that you and your family consume.” Indeed, as the industry has grown and consolidated, more and more farmers have turned to undocumented Latino immigrants to fill positions in their 24-hour milking parlors. These workers are acutely aware of their deportability and vulnerability to exploitation. “We came here to work,” a worker objected, “but not like slaves.” Nine out of ten workers surveyed believe that their employers care more about the cows than about workers’ well-being.

Like all agricultural workers in New York, dairy farmworkers are excluded from a number of basic labor rights and protections, including the right to organize, the right to a day of rest, and the right to overtime pay.

The researchers found that, on average, dairy farmworkers work 12 hours per day, six days per week. Without a right to a guaranteed day off, it is not uncommon for workers to work seven days a week, sometimes for years on end. That is the case for Alvaro, a 25 year-old worker from Mexico, who works 85 hours per week. When he and his coworkers complained to their boss about their need for a break, they were threatened with being fired.

Despite such a crushing work schedule, dairy workers also face considerable economic hardship. Their wages hover at or near the minimum wage. Moreover, twenty-eight percent of workers surveyed have knowingly experienced at least one instance of wage theft. Given the frequency with which farmworkers admit to not understanding their pay stubs, the authors suspect the actual rate of wage theft to be much higher.

Working conditions on dairy farms are dangerous and can be fatal. Sixty-nine farmworker fatalities have been reported on New York dairies in the decade between 2006 and 2016. And fully two-thirds of the workers surveyed had experienced one or more injuries while on the job. Sixty-eight percent of those injured said the injury was serious enough to require medical attention. Workers reported kicks to the head, crushed limbs, eye injuries due to chemical splashes, falls sustained on slippery parlor floors, lacerations from equipment, and broken and fractured bones. These fatalities and injuries were, on the whole, preventable. But dairy farms are relatively unregulated workplaces compared to other industries, and few farmworkers receive adequate training. Indeed, a third of the workers surveyed report having received no training at all. “I barely had training, like one minute,” one worker explained. “I figured it out after some time. One just simply has to learn as they go.”

Given their long work hours, their inability to obtain a driver’s license, and their fear of immigration enforcement, dairy farmworkers report leaving the farm premises, on average, as infrequently as once every 11 days. Some report leaving only for medical emergencies, resulting in almost total immobility. Among the survey participants, feelings of depression and isolation were widespread. And numerous workers referred to feeling “locked up.” The authors are aware that these feelings have only grown in intensity among farmworkers since the research was conducted, given the Trump administration’s disparaging rhetoric about immigrants and increased immigration enforcement activities.

The report also highlights workers’ and their advocates’ ongoing efforts to fight back against injustice and to improve employment conditions throughout the dairy industry. Featured in the report is the story of Crispin Hernandez, a WCCNY worker leader who was fired from one of the state’s largest dairies for engaging his co-workers in organizing efforts. He is now the lead plaintiff in a case before the New York State Supreme Court. If a favorable decision is reached in Hernandez v. New York State, more than 60,000 farmworkers in NY would finally have the right to collective bargaining, after 8 decades of exclusion from this basic right. “We don’t have the same rights as other workers, that is why we’re fighting for our right to organize,” reads a quote from Crispin featured in the report. “All of these injustices we are seeing today, it’s not fair. We are all human beings and we deserve respect and dignity. The time has come for all of this injustice to change.”

Rebecca Fuentes of the Worker Center of Central New York and a co-author of MILKED says “Since 2013, the Workers’ Center of CNY and the Worker Justice Center of NY have been on the frontline of uncovering and fighting against the unjust, hazardous, and unsafe working conditions of dairy farmworkers in upstate New York. Through this report, people will get to know the stories of farmworkers like Lazaro. While working on a small farm in Broome County, Lazaro was attacked by a bull and almost lost an eye and yet the employer made it almost impossible for him to get workers’ compensation. Lazaro suffered an immense amount of stress from not being able to pay medicals bills. Because of OSHA’s lack of jurisdiction over farms with less than 11 workers, the farm was never fined or inspected. While people might dismiss Lazaro’s experience as an unfortunate and extreme case, these conditions are widespread. The Workers’ Center of CNY is organizing and has accomplished many victories. With this report, we invite everyone to join us in fighting to make sure farmworkers, like all workers, have dignity, respect, and justice at their workplaces.”

Carly Fox of the Worker Justice Center of New York, and a co-author of the report, explained: “For more than two decades, the New York State dairy industry has grown increasingly dependent on immigrant workers, yet there is little known about the impact these trends have had on the industry, working conditions and the lives of workers themselves. MILKED is the first publication of a comprehensive and participatory study of immigrant dairy workers. Our results confirm what worker advocates have seen throughout the years: working conditions are deteriorating for immigrant dairy workers.

The dairy boom has to led to increased production, yet, due to the unique economic pressures on the dairy industry that depress the price of milk, farmers argue that the only way to ensure financial stability is to cut labor costs – a burden borne by the workers. We call on our elected representatives to create comprehensive policy solutions that protect not only farms but the workers who milk and care for the cows. We also call on consumers and dairy industry companies to support and create worker-led corporate social responsibility programs with enforceable standards.”

The authors make a number of recommendations to bring about an end to the “milking” of immigrant dairy workers. They call for Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to not only eliminate the exemption of farmworkers from basic labor rights, but to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses, to provide more rigorous oversight of workplace health and safety on dairies, and to ensure that all farmworkers live in safe and dignified housing. “The state has invested heavily in the success of the dairy business—through all kinds of financial incentives and product promotion—but it has done so with little regard for the workforce whose labor has made that success possible,” says Gretchen Purser, a professor of sociology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and co-author of the report. “It’s time for the state to take action against worker exploitation in its most prized agricultural industry.”

The authors also call for dairy companies like Chobani to implement and enforce worker-led codes of ethical labor conduct with their fresh milk suppliers, purchasing only from those farms that participate in rigorous labor rights monitoring conducted independent of the dairy purchaser or supplier.

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, says “Milked shines a glaring spotlight on the unfair, dangerous and inhumane working conditions at New York’s dairy farms. It is shameful that a racist, 80-year- old New York law continues to deny farmworkers important workplace protections, including the right to organize for better conditions. Milked is a rallying call to all New Yorkers to unite with farmworkers across the state fighting for fair treatment.”

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.milkedny.org and shared via social media using the hashtags #MilkedNY,  #MilkCowsNotWorkers and #DairyMonth.

CONTACT:
Rebecca Fuentes | rfuentes@workerscentercny.org | 315-657-6799 (cell)

Carly Fox | cfox@wjcny.org | 585-500-9409 (cell)

Syracuse Community Choir Concert June 11th

Our friends with the Syracuse Community Choir will be holding their Summer Solstice Concert on Sunday, June 11th at 4:30 pm at St. Paul’s Downtown Episcopal Church at 220 East Fayette Street Syracuse, NY 13202. Tickets are $15-$25 at the door (or less if you need to, children are free). We appreciate that we will receive part of the proceeds from the evening. The theme of this year’s concert is immigration, migration, and sanctuary. We will also be able to table and share information about the Green Light campaign, dairy farmworker organizing and other WCCNY. We would greatly appreciate volunteers to help to staff the table. If you’re available to help us with tabling please give us a call at 315-218-5708 or email Nikeeta at nslade@workerscentercny.org. We thank you in advance and we look forward to seeing you on June 11th!

 

ArtRage Exhibit: CARVING THROUGH BORDERS 6/10-7/7

CTB-Mazatl-detail

June 10, 2017 to July 7, 2017

Opening Reception ~ Saturday, June 10th from 7-9pm
Special guest Holly Greenberg

Fifteen artists of diverse immigrant backgrounds were invited to create large-scale woodcuts depicting images and messages inspired by their experiences as documented or undocumented citizens. The themes explore deportation, justice, worker’s rights, the immigrant’s contributions to society and the freedom to move across borders. Artists worked for months carving their imagery into large wood panels, utilizing a printmaking process (some working in the medium for the very first time) that has a long history for disseminating information and rallying change.

Professor Holly Greenberg and students from the Syracuse University printmaking program traveled to San Francisco in 2014 and set up a pop-up printmaking studio on the streets of the Mission District. Working side by side, the students and artists printed the large-scale (7’x3′) woodcuts on fabric with a two-ton steamroller. The resulting impressions are intended to be used as banners in political marches and protests across the United States where immigration policy change is currently challenged. Carving Through Borders illustrates various aspects of migration—detention, deportation, displacement, discrimination—and also communities’ resistance and resilience.

Video link: Carving Through Borders Syracuse University

Rally for Dolores’ at Her Next Court Date Wednesday 5-17

Please join this rally in support of Dolores Bustamante, our friend and board member who has her immigration court date coming up this Wednesday at 2pm in Batavia. There will be a rally in solidarity starting at 1pm. If you are in Syracuse and would like to come with a solidarity group going from this region, please send us a message. We plan on leaving at 11 am from Syracuse. Estamos con Dolores!

Procession Of Neighbors: In Support of Refugees

Sunday May 7, 2017, members of the WCCNY, CNY Solidarity Coalition, Syracuse Peace Council and Veterans for Peace, joined Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, along with InterFaith Works, in a prayerful procession in solidarity with refugees. The procession began around 3:00pm in front of White Branch Library on Butternut St. making brief stops at several faith locations along the Northside as the route looped back to its conclusion at White Branch Library.

Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter Agrees to Cosponsor Bill Expanding Access to Driver’s License’s

Pictured from left to right: Carol Baum, Peter McCarthy, Pamela Hunter, Nikeeta Slade, and Diana Ryan

Thursday May 4, 2017, we met with Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter to ask her to cosponsor the bill in the assembly  (Assembly Bill No. A4050) to expand access to drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status. We are happy to report that she agreed to be a cosponsor! Please call Assemblywoman Hunter at (315) 449-9536 and thank her for supporting licenses for all in New York! Find out more actions you can take below:

Dear friend,

If New York is serious about protecting our undocumented immigrant communities from abusive immigration enforcement, then the time to pass bill A4050 and restore access to drivers licenses, is right now.

WE NEED YOUR HELP IN THIS FIGHT!

In 2002, New York made the cruel and irresponsible decision to strip hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers of their driver’s licenses based on their immigration status. Suddenly, a simple traffic infraction had the real consequence of escalating to arrest and deportation. This has never been more true than under the current federal regime.

Today, New York falls shamefully behind the rest of the country, where more than 12 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico made the choice to put good policy before politics and successfully pass legislation that provides driver’s license access to their undocumented residents.

5 EASY WAYS TO TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW!

On May 4th, all across New York State, members of the Green Light NY: Driving Together Coalition are meeting with Assembly Members to ask for their full support of bill A4050. To win this fight we need them to also hear from you – their constituents!

1) CALLCall your NY Assembly Member today and ask them to sign-on in support of bill A4050 to restore access to drivers licenses, regardless of immigration status! This is the best way to support today and it only takes 3 minutes of your time.

2) TWEET: Post a tweet that publicly shows your support for the bill. Tag your assembly member and #GreenLightNY. Example: @CarlEHeastie The time has come to support bill A4050 and restore drivers licenses for #immigrantNY – Support #GreenLightNY today!

3) SHARE: Help us build support by forwarding this email to your networks and reposting our facebook and twitter posts on your social media.

4) FOLLOW: Follow the Green Light NY: Driving together campaign on Facebook and Twitter so you can help with #3 and stay updated on the campaign.

5) THANK: Call or tweet the current bill sponsors – Assembly Member Francisco MoyaAssembly Member Phil RamosAssembly Member Kevin Cahill. Thank them for stepping up to support the bill and ask them to prioritize its passage in 2017.

GET INFORMED!

Green Light NY General Overview

Green Light NY Fact & Fiction

Fiscal Policy Institute Statewide Impact Analysis

Comptroller Stringer NYC Impact Analysis

Gallery

Primero Mayo/May Day Rally Success!

This gallery contains 36 photos.

We had a FANTASTIC May Day/Day Without Immigrants in here Syracuse. The march was very energetic, we heard from sharp and amazing speakers, and we had amazing turnout. We would like to say thank you again to the International Socialist … Continue reading