Category Archives: Farmworkers

WCCNY is hiring!!!

We are very excited to be growing our staff and capacity here at the WCCNY. We are looking to bring on a new part-time organizer to conduct outreach, support membership development, build organizational capacity, and develop and lead strategic campaigns for workplace and economic justice! Check out the full description and qualifications here. If you think you would be a great fit or know someone else who would be a great fit please send your cover letter and resume with “Organizer Position” as email subject to Gretchen Purser, chair of the board at gpurser@workerscentercny.org and Nikeeta Slade, organizer at nslade@workerscentercny.org. Please be sure to include the names and contact information of two people willing to serve as references. Application deadline is October 6, 2017.

9/25/17: Farmworker Solidarity Housing Meeting

Monday, Sept. 25th at 6pm, Workers’ Center
This will be the second meeting of allies who are committed to finding short and long term housing solutions for farmworkers. There will be updates and report backs from the last meeting as well as continuing to march forward with plans to provide real solidarity to farmworkers organizing against and speaking out against injustice. Please email Nikeeta at nslade@workerscentercny.org if you will be joining us as this next meeting!

Jail Ministry reverses its promise to immigrant farmworkers

A couple of weeks ago Jail Ministry founder Bill Cuddy announced he will let immigrant farmworkers stay indefinitely at Slocum House after the Radical Education Collective and Black Lives Matter joined the Workers’ Center in a rally to stop the eviction of immigrant farmworkers from the house.

The rally was organized after Jail ministry’s director Keith Cieplicki and founder Bill Cuddy refused to come to an agreement  about hospitality at Slocum House. The house had been offered to provide hospitality and sanctuary to immigrant workers at the beginning of 2017 but 5 months later we were told to leave. Workers living at the house received an eviction as we found out the house had been offered to Andre Lunetta from A Tiny Home for Good to be used for offices.

At a time when immigrants are under attack it is disappointing to see the lack of humanity towards the most vulnerable. We understand people with resources and power will always disappoint us, those are the bosses, the managers, the landlords, those who decide to profit out of exploitation and poverty but we  expect more from those who call themselves people of faith. Bill Cuddy has years of social justice in Central NY, but this time he has committed a terrible injustice in an effort to help his friends.

ATHFG has informed us they do not have any responsibility toward the immigrant farmworkers currently living at the house, but since their cause is homelessness they will allow the workers to stay for one year after they become the owners of the house. They also informed us that they “can’t refuse to take the house.”

ATHFG already owns a house that was also donated to them which, according to their website, is already used for offices. We hope ATHFG will reconsider their position and, at the very least, allow immigrant farmworkers to continue to have a space for temporary housing and sanctuary indefinitely. To who much is given, much is expected from.

Chobani Meeting Update!

The past couple of months, many of you have written messages to Chobani urging them to meet with us to talk about our MILKED report.  We are excited to report that a few weeks ago, on August. 18th, we met with representatives from Chobani and discussed our MILKED report which details the conditions that workers face on dairy farms. Worker-leaders shared powerful testimonies about the preventable deaths and injuries, wage theft, retaliation against workers for speaking out, and other pressing issues. This meeting is the beginning of what we hope is an on-going dialogue to address the systemic abuses and exploitation in the dairy industry. We thank you all for all of your support, whether it was sending messages, circulating the report, or attending the rally in front of Chobani in New York City. Thanks and we will continue to keep you all updated!

Update on Slocum House

Immigrant farmworkers and allies celebrating the recovery of $7000 in stolen wages for Fernando and the stop of the unjust eviction of farmworkers from Slocum House. Sí se puede!

Slocum House Victory
Yesterday, our friends with the Radical Education Collective (REC) held a rally calling on Jail Ministry Director Keith Cieplicki  and co-founder Bill Cuddy to not evict farmworkers living in Slocum House. We are ecstatic to announce that after another amazing display of powerful collective action, Bill Cuddy (founder of Jail Ministries in Syracuse) announced that he will allow immigrants to stay indefinitely.  The rally in front of Slocum House featured energetic chanting and farmworkers and community allies stressing the importance of why access to housing is so essential to immigrant workers who are fighting for dignity and respect. Fernando’s victory is a true testament to the heartening organizing farmworkers are able to participate in and lead when they have access to housing. In the span of two days, we have seen and demonstrated that collective action continues to get the goods! Thank you so much for standing with the Farmworkers being evicted from Slocum house and the Workers’ Center of CNY. Your solidarity and your presence made a difference! You can read the REC’s full statement here.

Message from Rebecca:

Dear all, thank you so much for standing with the Farmworkers being evicted from Slocum house and the Workers’ Center of CNY. Your solidarity and your presence made a difference. Thanks to all of you we won and indefinite stay for the workers at the house, so there is no more eviction notice for now, of course this only happened because we all did this together and showed up. We Bill Cuddy to document this decision in writing because of our past interactions with Jail Ministry and Slocum House.

We continue to advocated for the house to be a true ongoing sanctuary for Farmworkers and not to be converted to offices for A Tiny Home for Good.

We know true friends in solidarity and Farmworkers will come together to make true sanctuary in Syracuse. No ban, no wall, sanctuary for ALL.

Solidarity Rally with Evicted Farmworkers!

We are calling on ALL community members that support immigrant farmworkers fighting for dignity and respect to attend this action. The time is NOW!

On July 27th, Workers’ Center member Fernando led a rally and campaign to retrieve his stole wages from Frazee Farms in Fabius, NY. We are extremely proud to report and celebrate a victory in this campaign! On Aug. 14th, Fernando received a check for $7,167.81. In his demand letter to the employer he initially demanded $8,000 but after negotiations, agreed on the $7,167. Time and time again, we see that collective action gets the goods!

Fernando’s story also demonstrates why having access to housing is absolutely essential for farmworkers who are organizing and taking risks. Fernando was fired from the farm because he was sick and unable to go to work. Homeless and with no job, Fernando was on the verge of taking a bus to Texas, where he knew absolutely no one. Luckily, because farmworkers who are standing up for justice and organizing have had a place to stay at Slocum House, he was able to lead this victorius campaign to get back the wages that were stolen from him.

Unfortunately, the solidarity that farmworkers thought they were being extended was not solidarity at all but charity, and it has unjustly and abruptly come to an end. On July 27th–the same day that Fernando led this courageous campaign–Keith Cieplicki and Bill Cuddy from Slocum House and Jail Ministries, left a note under the doors of farmworkers living there, advising them to be out of the house by September 1st. with a possible extension to October 1st.

We are very saddened by Keith Cieplicki and Bill Cuddy’s decision, as well as Andrew Lunetta’s participation in this “transition” as they have called it. Syracuse, a sanctuary city, can not be the place where social justice organizations betray immigrants in this way. On behalf of the workers currently at Slocum House, as well as activists and the WCCNY, we invite you to join us to celebrate our victory with Fernando and to talk about next steps to fighting for REAL hospitality, sanctuary, and solidarity with farmworkers. #SanctuaryIsNotTemporary #DontEvictFarmworkers #SolidarityNOTCharity