Labor-religion supporters fast for farm workers, minimum wage earners

Posted at: 03/07/2013 4:33 PM
Updated at: 03/07/2013 5:44 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - A group gathered at an Albany church.

Many had voluntarily gone without food for at least 40 hours.

"This process brings a closer awareness to abundance and want, justice and injustice," said Sara Niccoli of the Capital Region Labor-Religion Coalition.

Those taking part in the fast are urging an increase in the state's minimum wage to 9 dollars an hour. It passed the Assembly this week but faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.

Demonstrators also want major improvements for farm workers.

Kerry Kennedy, Governor Cuomo's first wife and a daughter of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, suggested it is a civil rights issue.

"So we get rid of the last of the Jim Crow laws in this state and farm workers get the same rights that every deli worker and every other worker and everybody in this room works under," said Kennedy. "That is all that is being asked by this legislation. I've seen first hand slave-like conditions for people across New York State. 95, 100 hour work weeks at minimum wage with no overtime pay and no days off."

At the end of the service pieces of apricot were passed out to break the fast.