At a rally calling for more rights for New York's farmworkers, Dolores Rosamante was the only laborer who managed to get Monday off.
“Fortunately, I am able to be here but there are a lot of farm workers across the state of New York who are not able to take a day off,” said Rosamante, who traveled from a farm in Western New York.
Brought together by the Justice for Farmworkers Coalition, the advocates are pushing for the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, which, among other things, would grant workers the right to form unions and earn overtime.
"It's 2019, it's incredible that we still do not have basic rights and protections for farmworkers across the state," said Jose Chapa, the coalition’s legislative campaign coordinator.
The legislation, which state officials say has Governor Cuomo's backing, has stalled in the state senate for the past two decades.
"Governor Cuomo looks forward to working with the legislature to get this important bill passed," New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said.
State Senator Jessica Ramos of Queens is the bill's current sponsor.
“We are hoping to help these farm workers and help the farms because it is a $5 billion, very important industry here in the state," Ramos said.
“I think that it really is not fair, as it is written, for farmers or for the workers,” said Tim Stanton, owner of Stanton’s Feura Farm.
A ninth-generation dairy farmer from Albany County, Stanton says he is in favor of allowing farm workers to form unions, but he fears having to pay his employees overtime will end up hurting workers the most .
“What it boils down to is my men averaging $950 a week, I will have to cut them to 40 hours a week, which is $550,” he said. “Tell me how that is fair for them to take them $400 less?”
Ramos says lawmakers are working with farmers to ensure the bill works for everyone.
"Obviously, if we want to help the farmworkers, what they are going to need is them to work in an industry that is vibrant,” Ramos said.
Stanton fears it could do more harm than good.
"This could put a lot of people over the edge, in other words, drive a lot of farms out,” Stanton said.