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Victory

New York Agricultural Workers Make History by Joining RWDSU/UFCW

October 19, 2021

On Sept. 27, Pindar Vineyards employees made history as the first-ever New York agricultural workers to unionize, joining RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 after receiving certification from the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). This historic union certification in Peconic comes after the 2019 passage of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which grants agricultural and farmworkers workplace protections, including the right to join a union. RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 first filed to represent the vineyard’s 12 agricultural workers on May 28, 2021.

“My coworkers at Pindar and I joined Local 338 because we want dignity and respect,” said Rodolfo M. “Our work should be valued and only by receiving equal treatment and things like sick days and paid time off to spend with our loved ones will it be. We know that being a union member will help us get the recognition we deserve for all of our efforts.”

“When New York passed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, there was a fundamental understanding that agricultural workers needed key protections that they have lacked for decades, including the right to join a union,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 President John Durso. “PERB’s historic certification is the next step in securing dignity and respect for the essential workers who ensure we have food and beverages on our tables. We are incredibly proud to represent the workers at Pindar Vineyards and are looking forward to securing a strong collective bargaining agreement.” 

“For the first time we can call farmworkers in New York State union members,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “For far too long, farmworkers have worked to nourish our communities without necessary workplace protections for themselves or their families. It was a decades-long struggle to win farmworkers’ right to organize in this state, and now workers at Pindar Vineyards are seeing the seeds they planted come to fruition by becoming the first in the state to be recognized as a union. Now they can begin negotiating the first-ever union contract for farmworkers in New York. The workers at Pindar Vineyards have made history and are the beginning of what we are sure will be a growing union presence for the state’s farmworkers.”