The legal challenge was filed in May by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been named as a defendant in the complaint along with the state, he has gone on record saying he agrees with the NYCLU that excluding farm workers from the state’s Labor Relations Act is “inconsistent with our constitutional principles” – adding that his administration won’t defend the exemption in court.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a worker, Crispin Hernandez, who was employed at Marks Farms in Lewis County. According to the complaint, Hernandez was fired from his job after a manager found him meeting with a Workers’ Center of Central New York representative about workplace conditions on the farm.
With the state opting not to participate, New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said the organization will file for intervenor status and submit a motion — if the group is allowed to intervene — to dismiss the case.