It's summer, and we're just as busy as you are out in the fields. This time of year, it's more important than ever to support the farm workers in our communities. Some of us on the NCTFA Steering Committee are farmworkers ourselves, and we know firsthand how challenging it can be. So we wanted to provide a little background info on the state of farm worker protection in CT: The National Labor Relations Act was passed by the US Congress in 1935. This law provided some level of protection for workers to collectively bargain at their workplace. However, this protection was not universally applied to all workers. Farm and agricultural laborers and domestic workers along with public and federal sector workers were excluded from the NLRA, and as such can be fired for attempting to organize a union at their workplace, without recourse.
Some states have provided additional worker protections since the passage of this law. After a long fought battle on behalf of Mexican and Filipino agricultural laborers, California passed the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act. Most recently, a New York state appeals panel extended collective bargaining rights to farmworkers in 2019. Connecticut, however, has not followed our neighboring state in granting union protections to farmworkers.
The New CT Farmer Alliance supports farmworkers in their right to organize unions at their workplace, and urges Connecticut lawmakers to extend collective bargaining protection to all workers in the state. Sources:
https://www.nlrb.gov/about-nlrb/rights-we-protect/the-law/employees/are-you-covered https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/a-new-era-of-farm-worker-organizing.htm https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/new-york-farmworkers-get-labor-rights-but-legal-battle-looms Thank you to Gavin Curran of Sweet Ring Farm (and member of NCTFA's Policy Working Group) and Liz Guerra of SEAmarron Farmstead (and member of NCTFA's Steering Committee) for putting together this post!