Solidarity with Pindar Farm Workers
Stony Brook Worker Editorial
On November 20, 2022, SBU GSEU members José Manuel Baeza Zúñiga, Daniel Greeson, and Valentina Pucci joined in solidarity with protesting organizers from Local 338 in front of the Pindar Vineyards outlet store in Port Jefferson. Despite the cold temperatures and brief backlash from outlet store staff, the protest was successful in raising awareness and support for the cause on Long Island.
GSEU Members in Solidarity with Pindar Farm Workers
Pindar Vineyards farm workers, based out of the North Fork of Long Island, unionized just over a year ago in 2021 to become the first farm workers’ union in New York State. Despite this massive victory for workers, the union has met resistance from Pindar management in their efforts to ratify a contract. In a November 20th interview with JD Allen for WSHU public radio, Local 338 organizer Noemi Barrera said that Pindar management had thus far refused to join organizers at the bargaining table, leaving farm workers without a contract. In the same interview, Local 338 organizer Yomaira Franqui added that Pindar had not been acting in good faith in the negotiation process.
Importantly, the protestors present at the Port Jefferson Pindar outlet in November were neither blocking access to the store nor encouraging a boycott. Instead, they sought to raise awareness about the farmworkers’ precarious contract-less situation. Port Jeff locals repeatedly voiced their support of the Pindar workers in their negotiation efforts; the “Honk if you support farm workers!” sign was met with nonstop honks from passing traffic.
Although Pindar is essentially in SBU’s backyard, the issue of fair contracts and representation for farm workers extends state- and nationwide. Agricultural laborers in the US, the majority made up of migrant workers from Mexico and Central America, have historically been made to work long hours in tiring and often unsafe conditions with little to no access to legal protections, all for little pay. The Pindar farmworkers’ union, being the first of its kind in the entire state of New York, has the potential to open doors to fair representation and compensation in the workforce for laborers in all of New York and nationwide. SBU GSEU will continue to maintain contact with organizers from Local 338 and Pindar Vineyards and hopes to lend support and solidarity to the fight for a fair contract.