Tague To Speaks Against Farm Labor Cost Increases in Wage Labor Board Hearing

September 2, 2020

Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I,Ref-Schoharie) on Monday spoke out against farm labor cost increases in a virtual hearing. Following the passing of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practice Act, farms have been required to pay their farm workers overtime pay for any time over 60 hours a week since January 1 of this year. New talks within New York’s Wage Labor Board suggest dropping the overtime threshold to anything over 40 hours per week.

Opposition to farm labor cost increases is not downplaying the work of farm hands, but instead comes after patterns of financial struggle for farmers and the agricultural industry during the pandemic. Milk dumping, lowered demands, and the overall nature of farm hands’ working hours are just some of the points that opponents to the lowered threshold are voicing.

“With the new overtime threshold put in place in January, the implementation of lowering what is considered overtime and increasing costs for farms could devastate the agriculture business,” said Tague. “Family farms would go under, and those farm workers would lose their jobs. I am staunchly opposed to the increase in farm labor costs because I want farmers across the state to not have to fight for their livelihood. The proposal to lower the threshold to any work over 40 hours a week shows how misinformed the Wage Labor Board is about the nature of farming.”