Backlash is coming quickly from both sides of the aisle after the New York State Farm Labor Wage Board September 6 recommended to the State Labor Department that the overtime threshold for farm workers be dropped from 60 to 40 hours a week over the course of the next ten years.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, a Democrat, says she believes farm workers deserve pay similar to other workers but the federal government needs to address such issues as immigration and other problems financially impacting the agriculture industry. Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney called the recommendation “gravely misguided”, worsening the challenges of New York’s agriculture industry.

Kathy Whyte/WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/WNBF News
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Following extensive testimony, the three-member Farm Labor Wage Board voted two-to-one in favor of the recommendation with New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher voting “no” saying he believed the report did not reflect “the scope of the full testimony that was provided.”

The New York State Labor Department will have 45 days to review the board’s report and recommendations before announcing a decision.  The Department is to publish a notice of the receipt of the report before Sunday in daily newspapers, including the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. 

Objections and recommendations can be submitted to Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon within fifteen days after the notice is published.

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Under the recommendation, the overtime threshold for farm laborers would be lowered from 60 to 56 hours on January 1, 2024.  The bar would be lowered to 52 hours on January 1, 2026, then to 48 hours on January 1 2028, 44 hours on January 1, 2030 and finally to the 40-hour mark on January 1, 2032.

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