SAVE THE DATE: Human Rights Day Prayer Brunch

Each year in December, Long Island Jobs with Justice commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by honoring one champion of human rights right here on Long Island. This year, we are proud to honor Rural and Migrant Ministry, an organization that has been standing with the rural and migrant communities of New York State, including farmworkers on Long Island.

Please save the date and join us on Friday, December 9th, from 10am-12pm, as we celebrate and honor the remarkable humanitarian work of Rural and Migrant Ministry. Location will be announced shortly.

Visit this link to pledge your participation and stay connected to upcoming announcements:http://bit.ly/2czNvcl

Hope you can come!

labor-faith-prayer-brunch-std-2016Download PDF flyer here.

Rally For Good Jobs at Best Yet Market

This past Labor Day, we celebrated the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our Long Island communities. However, because profitable companies have redefined what work looks like, many Long Islanders remain bound to unstable, unpredictable, and underpaid jobs.

Best Yet Market is one of those companies!

You might be familiar with this neighborhood supermarket , but did you know that despite priding themselves on being a team-oriented, family driven company their employees lack job security, a living wage, and affordable healthcare?

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This Friday, September 9th, we will rally for good jobs that truly support Long Island families, and we will call on Best Market to do better by their workers!

Will you join us?

We will gather at the Huntington Station Best Market (711 E. Jericho Turnpike) store at 10am.

See you there!

 

Martins’ Voting Record Contradicts His Immigrant Values

The Long Island DREAM Coalition:

As Election Day gets closer and closer, many immigrants and our allies are crossing our fingers. The stakes are certainly high this year, and Jack Martins-, current senator for the 7th senatorial district and candidate for the 3rd congressional district on Long Island-  is well aware of how important this election is to the immigrant community. In Alexandre Soares’ piece “For Republican Jack Martins, an Immigrant Story Worth Telling”  Martin’s aligns himself with the immigrant community- as the son of immigrants, someone with strong ties to the Portuguese community in Mineola, and as someone who shares immigrant values. Martin’s states, “ I think personal initiative has always been part of the American dream, and of the immigrant’s’ journey as well. That you allow anyone who comes from anywhere to set his priorities on education, hard work, and to succeed – it’s an issue fundamental to the Republican Party.”

However, his voting record shows opposition to educational initiatives for the immigrant community.  Senator Martin’s district includes Westbury High School, Mineola High School, and Port Washington High school, all schools with a large populations of immigrant students. Despite his responsibility to represent the best interest for these students, Senator Martins voted against the NY DREAM Act in 2014 when it was brought to the floor. If passed, this legislation would have allowed all students, regardless of immigration status, who have graduated from a New York high school to be eligible for financial aid for higher education. It failed by two votes.

In 2015, after  Governor Cuomo added the NY DREAM Act to the state budget, Senator Martin’s  further voiced his opposition to the New York DREAM Act,  stating” how can we justify providing additional college benefits to illegal, non taxpaying persons when a full 70% of legal New York college students do not qualify for it themselves?”

This statement is not only factually inaccurate, immigrants do pay taxes and the New York DREAM Act does not take away financial aid from citizens, but it serves to reinforce the current anti-immigrant climate by perpetuating the myth that immigrants are stealing opportunities from US citizens. Martin’s has also contributed to this anti-immigrant climate by co-sponsoring Senate Bill S6032b, a legislation that would take away funding from local police departments that have a non-cooperation policy with Immigration Enforcement.

On Long Island, the immigrant community has been fighting an uphill battle- limited  amount of non profit legal service providers, limited funding for programs for refugee central american children, ICE presence separating our families, and resistance form our Long Island senators to support the NY DREAM Act.  We wish we could have an ally to immigrants, someone who shares our values, representing us.  Senator Martins has not only been unavailable to meet with us for the past two years, but has actively opposed initiatives that would make education more accessible to the immigrant community.

The 3rd congressional district has a large and growing immigrant community in Eastern Queens, Hicksville, Huntington and Glen Cove. Their support will be crucial in the congressional elections. As such, it is important for candidates not only to bond with their constituents over shared values, but also to honor those values in Albany.

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March for Farmworker Justice!

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The road to fairness for farmworkers starts in Suffolk County.

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“Farmworkers are the most important workers in every country because they’re the ones producing the food for the country.”

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This May 15 through June 1, a coalition of farmworkers and allies in New York is marching to draw attention to the unequal standing of farmworkers under labor law. While workers in all industries currently face more barriers than ever in realizing their labor rights, farmworkers have less recourse under the law. In the 1930s when the Fair Labor Standards Act passed into Law, farmworkers and domestic workers were left behind. Their exclusion was not an accident. Senators and Congressmen, mostly Democrats from the South, spoke openly on the floor about not wanting the two industries primarily composed of the children and grandchildren of slaves to have the same rights as white workers. To this day, the majority of states have not passed laws to remove exclusions, which include the rights for overtime pay, a day of rest, and collective bargaining.

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The 200-mile March for Farmworker Justice from the east end of Long Island to Albany supports the passage of the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act (A4762/S1291) in New York State. The March will amplify the voices of farmworkers who want equal treatment under the law.JFFW-Logo

“The owners of the farm are the landlords — the owners of the housing,” Boris Martinez, a farmworker from a nursery in Patchogue, said through translator Katia Chapman in a phone interview Tuesday. Martinez is from El Salvador and has worked at the nursery for about two years, he said. “The owners only care that the housing is okay when inspection is going to come. They don’t care what state the housing is in, what condition the housing is in. It’s most likely that there will be at least 10 people living there.

“None of the workers are paid overtime pay. None of us have health insurance and if we get sick we don’t have the resources to pay for basic medical care. I know a lot of other workers in the area and none of them are paid overtime pay. Many of us don’t have a day of rest either. I’m right now working about 60 hours a week but when the weather warms up I’ll probably be working 67 or 68 hours.”

“Those in power, they don’t care how we’re doing as workers, what they care about is the money that we’re producing for them.”

“I’m participating in the march because even though, as I said, I like my job, I also see my friends, my companions that they are not always treated well,” Jose Ventura, a farmworker from Guatemala, said in a phone interview Tuesday through Chapman as a translator. “On their farms they’re not always paid fairly. There’s a lot of Guatemalan farmworkers and some of them are mistreated in the job and while I feel that this march is for the benefit of my people, therefore I feel motivated to be a part of the movement.”

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