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Basic rights for all folks on the farm

Friday, June 27, 2014 - Updated: 6:53 AM

New York's just-passed medical marijuana law made history in more ways than one -- by granting labor rights to the people who will grow the stuff.

In fact, the law practically guarantees union wages and benefits for this new industry, by requiring companies applying for pot licenses to show support from a labor organization.

Which is fine for a lucky few -- but a slap in the face for 100,000 fellow farm workers who are shamefully denied basic legal protections.

Thanks to a grossly unfair state law, farm workers have no right to overtime pay, no right to even one day off per week and no right to join a union -- despite a clause of the state Constitution granting the right to organize and bargain collectively.

The Democrat-led Assembly has repeatedly voted to end this injustice, only to have reform die in the Senate, where Republicans rule with breakaway Democrats. That a majority of senators would then support special protection for marijuana growers takes the injustice to new heights.

Don't pretend they're not field hands. Even if they work indoors under factory-like conditions, they will be cultivating and harvesting a crop.

If Albany can do right by people growing pot, surely the hard-working folks busting their humps to put food on our tables deserve no less.

-- The New York Daily News

     

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