ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Legislature passed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act on Wednesday.
It would give workers rights such as collective bargaining and at least 24 consecutive hours of rest a week. Opponents, however, say it will be costly to farmers and consumers.
In addition to collective bargaining, the bill also creates a wage board to study the issue of overtime.
“It includes a day or rest,” Jose Chapa, Justice for Farm Worker Coalition Legislative Director, said. “It includes sanitary conditions to improve farm worker housing.”
Supporters of the bill say it’s critical for workers to be able to raise complaints about unfair practices.
“What we expect the bill to do is, most importantly, ensure that farm workers like all other workers in New York enjoy the basic protection of the right to organize without being retaliated against,” Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director, said.
Meanwhile, opponents say the regulations will put small, family farms out of business.
“I was a dairy farmer, so I understand this,” Assemblyman Chris Tague said. “Farmers are good to their people, ok. When I was a dairy farmer, many times I went without a paycheck to make sure that my employees got paid first.”
The bill also makes it mandatory that overtime be paid if a farm worker works more than 60 hours a week.