NEW YORK FARM BUREAU IS FOCUSING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

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FARM-2-articleLarge

Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times

“Immigration is a key issue for New York farms and employees and for consumers who want to continue to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products,” said NYFB Public Policy Director Julie Suarez. “Without a stable workforce, food doesn’t get picked, cows don’t get milked and farms don’t have products to take to market.”
NYFB is pushing for a program that provides legitimate visa status for workers already here but may sometimes have questionable documentation and who are willing and able to do the work that farmers depend on. These are workers who come from other countries for jobs that farmers try to fill first with local employees but are often unsuccessful. These reforms, the Farm Bureau said, should include both contract and non-contract options for the flexibility that farmers and workers need for labor protections, especially for the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.
farms-upstate-new-york

Farms in upstate New York: Photo by Keturah Stickann/John Menier (CC)

Speaking to reporters during a press conference, NYFB outlined three key areas it is targeting including the passage of a new Farm Bill, substantial immigration reform that recognizes New York’s farm needs, and funding for disaster assistance.
NYFB is also focusing on making sure New York’s farmers are represented in any immigration reform package that works its way through Washington, and is promoting changes that address both short and long term farm labor needs in New York.

READ MORE: North Country Now

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IS A LATINO DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHALLENGING CHARLES RANGEL?

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Manhattan State Senator Says He’ll Challenge Rangel

Adriano Espaillat, a Democratic state senator who represents Washington Heights, announced on Monday that he would run against Representative Charles B. Rangel, ending months of speculation over his potential candidacy and setting the stage for a campaign that could test the strength of Latino influence in the district.

Mr. Espaillat, the first Dominican-American to serve in the State Legislature, was elected to the Assembly in 1996 and won a seat in the State Senate two years ago, with an endorsement from Mr. Rangel, a Democrat. If Mr. Espaillat wins, he will be the first person of Dominican descent to be elected to Congress.

The district’s lines have been redrawn by a federal judge as part of the decennial redistricting process, altering its demographics. The new district, which includes most of Harlem, Washington Heights and a slice of the Bronx, is about 55 percent Hispanic, compared with 45 percent in the old boundaries, according to Steven Romalewski of the City University Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research. About 27 percent of the district’s voters are black. Mr. Rangel’s mother was black, and his father was Puerto Rican.

photo source: Getty Images

It will be a formidable challenge for Mr. Espaillat, 57, to overcome the longtime electoral strength of Mr. Rangel, 81, particularly given that the primary, on June 26, is likely to be a low-turnout event in which candidates with strong get-out-the-vote operations will have an advantage.

But Mr. Espaillat may benefit from Mr. Rangel’s recent ethics problems; Mr. Rangel and his campaign recently agreed to pay $23,000 for misusing a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office, and Mr. Rangel was censured in 2010 after the House Ethics Committee found him guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, including failure to pay taxes, improper solicitation of fund-raising donations and failure to accurately report his personal income.

Adriano Espaillat (Photo: NY1)

“I believe that the people of the 13th Congressional District are searching for leadership with bold, new ideas in Washington, D.C.,” Mr. Espaillat said in a statement. “I intend to conduct a vigorous campaign that will allow a full debate on the future of our city and state. Together, we can make history and bring real change that uplifts our communities and builds a stronger New York and a stronger country.”

Mr. Rangel’s campaign responded to Mr. Espaillat’s announcement by reaffirming in a statement the congressman’s commitment to the office.

“The congressman is running to serve another full term in Congress because he firmly believes, as he did 21 times before, that he is the best candidate to make a difference in the community,” the statement said.

Mr. Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said last week that speculation that he was hoping to win one more election to be able to hand off the seat to a preferred successor was untrue. “I am not in this race so I could politically manipulate the system,” he said. “I intend to serve my entire term.”

(Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Landov)

In addition to Mr. Espaillat, two other challengers say they will run in the Democratic primary: Clyde Williams, the former national political director for the Democratic National Committee, and Joyce Johnson, a former local Democratic district leader.

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WHAT IS THE SUPREME COURT GOING TO DO ON THE QUESTION OF OBAMA’S SIGNATURE HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LAW?

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is keeping quiet what the Supreme Court is going to do on the question of whether President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul law is constitutional. Sotomayor was the featured speaker Monday night at a lecture hosted by the University of the District of Columbia.

The court recently heard arguments on the health care law and is expected to make a decision before the end of June. But Sotomayor made no comment on the widely followed case.

The justice used most of her conversation with Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to explain how the Supreme Court works and how she decided to become a lawyer and a prosecutor.

Sotomayor was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents and received her B.A. from Princeton before earning her law degree at Yale. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York before going into going into private practice in 1984.

President George H. W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1991 and she was confirmed in 1992. President Obama nominated Sotomayor for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retired Justice David Souter and her appointment was confirmed in 2009.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday July 15, 2009, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Original Filename: Sotomayor_Senate_WCAP118.jpg

Sotomayor also said she’s a fan of Jeremy Lin, whose NBA career with the New York Knicks has spawned “Linsanity.” Sotomayor, a New York native, says “New York loves him” but decried some of the racist comments the Asian-American basketball player has faced as “ugly.”

“It’s a sad statement people that people still say those words,” said Sotomayor, who is Hispanic.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/04/03/sotomayor-keeps-quiet-health-care-decision/#ixzz1r3ETuGmE

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DID COCA-COLA RACIALLY DISCRIMINATE?

Coca-Cola responds

Coca-Cola issued a statement saying, “Where discrimination is alleged, we conduct a thorough investigation.” It said it appears one of the plaintiffs was terminated five years ago and “other allegations were addressed and resolved even longer ago. Contrary to the allegations in the lawsuit, our investigation has not uncovered a culture of workplace discrimination. In fact, many minority associates have come forward to strongly disavow the allegations of discrimination contained in the lawsuit.”

“We have investigated, and will continue to investigate, all allegations of discrimination and harassment brought to our attention. We are confident that this matter will be resolved fairly and justly through the judicial system,” Coca-Cola said in the statement

The Coca-Cola Co.’s minority employees work in a “cesspool of racial discrimination,” says a lawsuit filed against a unit of the Atlanta-based beverage company.

David Alvarez et al. vs. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., which was filed in New York State Supreme Court in Queens on behalf of 16 current and former black and Hispanic workers, charges that an “endemic culture of racism” runs through the company’s management and supervisors at its New York bottling plans in Elmsford and Maspeth, N.Y. The suit was filed Jan. 3, but only publicized last week in the New York Daily News.

The lawsuit charges that the 16 plaintiffs “have suffered from the worst of its ills in terms of biased work assignments and allotment of hours, unfair discipline and retaliation, and a caustic work environment.”

Worst duties, seniority system

It says black and Hispanic workers “are typically assigned to the most undesirable and physically dangerous positions, and to tasks that are outside of their job descriptions.

“Meanwhile, the managers contravene the established seniority system by giving better jobs and more overtime hours to workers with less seniority than minority workers.

“As several of the plaintiffs have found, opportunities for advancement and promotion within the company are routinely biased against minority workers. Finally, the truck drivers among the plaintiffs have had their hours unfairly limited and prevented from working overtime, while white drivers do not have to face these problems,” the lawsuit says.

Claims of retaliation

The lawsuit also charged that plaintiffs who have complained have “faced swift retaliation from the white managers.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory, emotional, psychological and punitive damages, lost compensation, front and back pay, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and any other damages permitted by law.

Commenting on the lawsuit, plaintiffs attorney Steve A. Morelli of the Law Office of Steven A. Morelli P.C. in Garden City, N.Y., said Coca- Cola’s hostile work environment is “clearly something that needs to be addressed.”

READ MORE: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20120319/NEWS07/120319876?tags=|70|75|303

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CELEBRITY APPRENTICE’S DAYANA MENDOZA’S FIGHT TO END AIDS IN THE LATINO COMMUNITY

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For Dayana Mendoza, Celebrity Apprentice is all about helping the Latino community.
The former Miss Universe didn’t waste time in taking her $20,000 check to one of her favorite charities in New York —The Latino Commission on AIDS— an organization focused on giving Latinos the help, support and research needed to fight HIV/AIDS.

photo by Yanira Arias
Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza taking the HIV Rapid test at an NLAAD event.

“The point is to help,” said Mendoza with tears in her eyes Sunday on Celebrity Apprentice.
The Venezuelan beauty took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Fox News Latino about what it takes to compete on the Celebrity Apprentice and what it is like having Donald Trump as a mentor.

READ MORE OR TO WATCH THE LIVE INTERVIEW: FOX NEWS LATINO

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