Local May 13, 2013 | 12:02 pm

Statement from NY Sen. Adriano Espaillat on Assembly Farmworkers vote

New York. “In recent years, we’ve seen rising consumer interest in the organic and “locavore” movements – and families have a right to know if their produce was grown pesticide-free, or what its carbon footprint is.

But we also can’t forget about the people working long, grueling hours for shockingly low pay that grow our food. These workers are mistreated and exploited, and are often afraid to speak out because of their immigration status. Women in these jobs are appallingly likely to face sexual harassment, assault and even rape.

It’s shameful that we’ve neglected these low-wage and predominantly immigrant workers, and too many people seem content to forget that they exist. Farmworkers lack basic protections that employees in other industries have held for generations, like safeguards against accidents, unemployment insurance, and the right to overtime.

As I continue to negotiate the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, the Assembly’s expected passage of this bill today is a crucial show of support. I’ve met with members of all three Senate conferences in recent weeks, and I’ll continue to speak out for the workers that we rely on for our food but treat so poorly.”

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