NYFB Defends Farms in Appellate Court


The organization argued its case after labor advocates appealed the previous court decision that sided with NYFB’s position on NYS Labor Law and collective bargaining for farmworkers.

“New York Farm Bureau continued to make a strong case today in the Supreme Court Appellate Division in Albany, NY as to why the Court should uphold the dismissal of the NYCLU lawsuit that seeks collective bargaining rights for farmworkers.  Our attorney, Brian Butler of Bond Schoeneck and King, argued that our system of government requires that the legislature change state law, not the courts.  Butler also argued that the State Employment Relations Act, as written, is constitutional.  We appreciate the opportunity to appear before the Court to ask the lawsuit be dismissed, and we are hopeful that we will once again have a decision in our favor.

In January of 2018, New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard McNally granted our organization’s request to dismiss the New York Civil Liberties Union’s baseless lawsuit, resulting in today’s appeal by labor advocates. New York Farm Bureau initially became involved in this case in 2016 when the court previously granted New York Farm Bureau intervenor status. The farmer led organization chose to defend agriculture from the lawsuit after New York State abdicated its duty to defend the State Labor Relations Act in court.

New York Farm Bureau has long opposed farmworker collective bargaining for one simple reason. Much of agriculture is driven by the seasons and the weather in a way that is different from any other occupation. The timely planting and harvesting of crops are solely dictated by mother nature. Additionally, livestock care can also be an around the clock job. A work stoppage in the name of a labor strike can seriously put animal health and a season’s worth of work in jeopardy.

Farmers greatly value the work of their employees, but as farms continue to struggle in this difficult farm economy, additional labor regulations and higher business costs will only push more farms out of business and reduce the number of jobs, on the farm and off, in our rural communities.

New York Farm Bureau has voiced its members concerns for more than a century and today’s argument in front of the Appellate Court is one more example of the farming community standing strong to be heard,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.