Agriculture and Farming
Exau Gregorio, Edin Mancilla, Jorge Ramírez, Marvin Diaz, Rony Agustin and Rodolfo Mendez | Pindar Vineyards
Local 338 is proud to be the first labor organization in New York State to represent agricultural workers. These workers, who play a vital part in our state’s supply chain, were denied basic on-the-job protections for decades before the passage of the 2019 Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which granted them the right to join a union.
Prior to the passage of this legislation, farm workers were not covered under the National Labor Relations Act or considered “employees” under the New York State Employment Relations Act, which meant they were not given the same rights and protections that most working people have today. In an industry that is made up of mostly immigrant workers, this allowed employers to take advantage of their employees and deny them rights such as sick pay, paid time off, and dignity and respect on the job.
We wanted to advocate for the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act because working people throughout New York State—regardless of where they’re from, what language they speak or their immigration status—are entitled to fair treatment in the workplace. This legislation allows New York’s agricultural workers to organize and collectively bargain with their employer, and grants them overtime pay, access to unemployment benefits, and requires employers give them at least one day off per week.
Edin Mancilla & Angel Ramirez | Pindar Vineyards
The first group of farmworkers to take advantage of the 2019 law were workers at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, Long Island. These workers met with Local 338 organizers throughout the pandemic to discuss what they hoped to receive through unionization: basic job protections, paid time off, sick pay and most importantly, respect on the job. On September 27, 2021, workers at Pindar Vineyards made history as the first agricultural workers in New York State to unionize, and they hope to set an example for other workers who are interested in joining a union and fighting for the workplace rights they deserve.
Rodolfo Mendez, one of Local 338’s members at Pindar Vineyards who encouraged his coworkers to unionize, hopes that their success at Pindar shows farmworkers across the state that they can unionize too.
“We’d like to be an example to encourage others to come, to get involved, because it’s necessary,” said Mendez. “We want to make the movement bigger, so everyone can fight for their dignity.”
Rodolfo Mendez | Pindar Vineyards
Local 338 is now heading into contract negotiations with Pindar Vineyards. As we negotiate a fair contract for these workers, we encourage our members and their families to support Pindar Vineyards and purchase union-made wine! When a product is union made, you not only support the business, but you support the workers themselves and the local economy. By investing in companies with unionized employees, we send a clear message that fair treatment of working people is important and something that should be prioritized.
Jeffery Monzon & Martir Zambrano-Deiz | Pindar Vineyards
Jorge Ramirez | Pindar Vineyards