Hispanic dairy workers step out of the shadows to protest abuses

For more than a decade, undocumented Hispanic workers have been indispensable on dairy farms across Upstate New York. The immigrants live largely invisible lives and rarely stray off the farm to avoid detection by federal agents. They are also less likely to report abuses.

For the first time in the North Country, farm workers and their advocates stepped out of the shadows and held a public protest. Recently, they marched to the gates of the region’s largest dairy farm, Marks Farms, near Lowville, N.Y., to call attention to what they called widespread wage theft, harassment, and other forms of abuse...

The Worker Justice Center of New York and the Workers' Center of Central New York targeted Marks Farms for this march because of an incident under investigation by state police. A farm manager, Michael Tabolt, allegedly beat a worker named Francisco and threw him to the ground several times after Francisco was reluctant to work on his day off. Advocates said there were witnesses, but they were scared to testify. Francisco was fired.

View the full story from north country public radio


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