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Politicians express opposition to farm worker overtime reduction recommendation

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 9/14/22

Local and national politicians are voicing their opposition to a recommendation from the New York Farm Laborers Wage Board that proposes reducing the farm worker overtime threshold.

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Politicians express opposition to farm worker overtime reduction recommendation

Posted

UTICA — Local and national politicians are voicing their opposition to a recommendation from the New York Farm Laborers Wage Board that proposes reducing the farm worker overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours.

Reps. Claudia Tenney, R-22, New Hartford and Elise Stefanik, R-21, Schuylerville, are cosponsoring the Protect Local Farms Act, a bill that will prevent the recommendation from going into effect.

“The decision to recommend lowering the farm worker overtime threshold from 60 to 40 hours per week is woefully misguided and ignores input from important industry stakeholders,” Tenney said in a statement. “Family farms, who are already struggling with rising costs from diesel to fertilizer and more, could be forced to reduce operations or leave the industry or state altogether. The Board completely failed to consider the overwhelming and passionate comments from farmers, consumers, and farm workers in formulating their policy priorities, deciding to undermine the very industry and workers they are supposed to serve.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. also spoke out against the recommendation Monday, Sept. 12, at an event to raise awareness for farm equipment and motor vehicle collisions.

“It makes it difficult for our farmers to retain the labor they hired, and it would change the dynamics because the cost of doing business for them will go up. It will result and could result in the closure of farms in Oneida County, across the state, which is devastating for the individuals that owned these farms, but it is dangerous for our economy, for our food supply, for the character of the rural communities,” Picente said.

The next step in process is for the New York state Department of Labor to accept or deny this recommendation.

Picente said he will ask Gov. Kathy Hochul to deny the request.

“No farms, no farmers, no food,” he added.

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome; Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, have also expressed their opposition to the recommendation, and called for the Department of Labor to reject it.

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