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L.I. Farmworkers March For Improved Working Conditions, Equal Rights

Long Island farmworkers and advocates are marching the almost 200 miles from Smithtown to Albany to call for passage of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.

The “March For Farmworker Justice” began in front of the Smithtown office of Republican State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Sunday, and passed through Brentwood, Bethpage, Garden City and Floral Park before heading into New York City and then up the Hudson Valley.

Nathan Berger, the Long Island coordinator for the Justice for Farmworkers Rural Migrant Ministry, says they are seeking an eight-hour day, overtime, and one guaranteed day off per week, as farm workers are exempt from many state labor laws.

“We have a core group here of workers and allies marching, and we are hoping to change the hearts and minds of our local senators.”

The core is made up of about two dozen walkers, picking up local supporters for portions of the march. Religious groups are offering them shelter each night. They hope to reach the State Capitol in Albany on June 1.