BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Roughly 500 farm workers at five New York state farms were in the process of unionizing in October when a temporary restraining order froze the state law allowing them to organize.

However, on Wednesday in Western District Court, Judge John Sinatra Jr. lifted all but one piece of the order following a hearing on motions for a preliminary injunction. The United Farm Workers said they should now be able to resume organizing.

"We hope it signals to the growers to get back to the business of actually negotiating with the workers because this delay has already caused irreparable harm to farm workers," Armando Elenes, United Farm Workers secretary treasurer, said.

While litigation continues, the national union is looking at the decision as forward progress. It held a rally Wednesday morning prior to the hearing and says NY Vegetable Growers and the private farms that brought the suit are trying to strip away the rights of workers that are seasonal, often not citizens and have been historically exploited.

"The United Farm Workers has been fighting state by state to try to fight back and get back the rights of workers we all kind of take for granted," Elenes said.

Industry advocacy group Grow NY Farms, which supports the lawsuit, argues the state's Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act does not give farm workers the same rights as other private sector employees because the process to organize does not involve a secret ballot, nor can they choose to decertify. The judge noted none of the plaintiffs are workers though and farmers don't have a sufficiently close relationship to raise constitutional claims on their behalf.

In response, the group said it's advocating for amendments to improve the law.

"I think what we're looking for is the fairness when it comes to how those kind of move forward and proceed," Dave Zittel, member and owner of Amos Zittel and Sons, said.

Grow NY Farms said there was some progress with the ruling as the judge granted the injunction with regards to a provision in the State Employee Relations Act which had made it illegal for farmers to discourage employees from organizing. He said the First Amendment protects employees rights to engage in "non-coercive" speech about unionization and the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of that challenge.

United Farm Workers says its important to move quickly because the industry is seasonal and part of the lawsuit was about the right of employees with federal H-2A visas to return to the same farms they worked the previous year.

The union said there are two other farms in the state it believes are eligible to begin negotiations and it needs to get those cases in front of the Public Employees Relations Board.