ELBA, NY – New York State Senator George Borrello is heightening his calls to the state Labor Wage Board, asking the group to reject any changes to the Farm Labor Act’s overtime threshold.
The Senator spoke this week during a press conference at Torrey Farms in Elba. Borrello says that the overtime threshold, which took effect in January 2020, is putting hardworking farm families out of business.
Specifically, he is concerned with the newly created Farm Wage Board who is expected to recommend lowering the threshold from 60-hours to 40-hours per week; a move he says local farmers cannot afford.
“Even before farmers had to tackle the new challenges of the Farm Labor Act, they were under financial strain,” said Borrello. “That is why New York State has already lost many farms, including 20 percent of its dairy farms.”
Senator Borrello also noted that the supply chain disruptions that impacting availability of many food products early in the pandemic were an indication that the state not only needs to preserve the availability of locally sourced farm products, but expand it.
“With farmers in the state already financially stressed by the high cost of doing business here, any further lowering of the overtime threshold would force many out of farming or to transition to less labor-intensive crops, both of which would affect New Yorkers’ ability to access local produce, meat and dairy products,” continued Borrello. “There is simply no question about it: raising the threshold would be a losing scenario for everyone involved, which is why any further changes must be rejected.”