Back to All Events

7PM ITHACA FORUM: Stop "Milking" Dairy Farmworkers!

Stop “Milking” Dairy Farmworkers!

NYS Farmworkers fight for the right to organize 

We would like to invite you to hear from dairy farmworker leaders and their advocates at a forum on Monday, July 31, 7pm at the Unitarian Church, 306 N. Aurora St. (@ Buffalo St. entrance), Ithaca. This follows the release of the report Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State*. The researchers of this report by the Worker Justice Center of New York and the Workers’ Center of Central New York will also be a part of the panel of speakers. In the last 4 ½ years, 5 dairy farmworkers in the 8 counties surrounding Ithaca have been killed in avoidable incidents. Since 2011, the Midstate Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) and the Tompkins County Workers Center have conducted safety and health training and helped with wage theft and workers compensation fraud complaints for many of our area farmworkers. We have found all of the conditions outlined in the Milked report: extreme work hours, exclusion from federal safety and health standards and basic labor rights protection, and almost total isolation from the community.Presenters at the Milked forum will share their findings based on interviews with 88 farmworkers across 53 farms in New York. After hearing about the working and living conditions of dairy farmworkers, you will hear what they are doing to fight back, and what you can do to help uplift these workers. Foremost among these is to support their lawsuit Hernandez v. New York State which argues that farmworkers should have the right to collective bargaining. This right, guaranteed to all other workers in this country since the institution of federal labor law in the 1930’s, excludes farm labor. Some states, most famously California after the organizing of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union, have instituted their own laws to include farmworkers. New York can and should do the same.*The full report can be seen at https://milkedny.org/.The lead sponsors for this event are the Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Midstate COSH, the Tompkins County Workers Center and the Unitarian Church’s Social Justice Council.Cosponsors to date are the Cornell Law School Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming, Climate Justice Cornell, Amnesty International - Ithaca Chapter, Amnesty International – Cornell University and the Committee on U.S. – Latin American Relations (CUSLAR), Cornell Organization for Labor Action.