ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) — Farmers and agricultural organizations across New York State aren’t giving up their fight to keep the farmworker overtime threshold at 60 hours.
Grow NY Farms—an advocacy organization with the support of several other agricultural associations, including the NY Farm Bureau—said that on March 3, family farms, farmworkers, and agricultural business organizations made hundred of calls to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, asking to keep the threshold at 60 hours per week. The campaign is being called #Stayat60.
In a statement, Grow NY Farms said the callers “voiced concerns over skyrocketing inflation and tight margins and explained why perishable products, caring for live animals 24/7, and unpredictable weather and a warming Northeast climate make a 60-hour overtime threshold necessary for an industry that’s unlike any other.”
In late January, the New York Farm Laborer Wage Board decided in a two-one decision to lower the overtime threshold to 40 hours per week over the course of the next decade. The decision prompted worry and outrage from many farms and State leaders, including Senator Tom O’Mara.
The decision followed a series of public hearings by the Wage Board. Grow NY Farms claims that 70% of testimonies were against lowering the threshold. These testimonies included Cornell University Staff, family farm owners, and immigrant farmers.
Grow NY Farms said it has 150 agricultural business organizations and family farms as part of its efforts. The Wage Board hearings be seen watched here.