The following letter to the editor was originally published on September 12, 2022. The article…
“Over the past few months, it’s become clear that New York’s agriculture community — both farmworkers and farmers — support keeping the farm labor overtime threshold at 60 hours. As we’ve said, workers want more hours so they can earn more, farmers cannot shoulder the burden of increased labor costs and lowering the overtime threshold would irreparably harm our state’s food supply and agricultural diversity. Those facts are indisputable, and we’ll continue to make our voices heard at the public hearings scheduled in January.”
On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor announced it will reconvene a Wage Board to hold virtual public hearings on the issue. That notice can be found here.
A report conducted by Cornell University examined the effects of the 60-hour overtime threshold on different farm operations in New York State and the impact a 50-hour threshold and a 40-hour threshold will have on the agriculture community. The key findings were that many workers and farms would simply leave the state and go elsewhere. The full Cornell University report can be reviewed here.
Also, a Farm Credit East report forecasts insurmountable economic challenges for farms if the overtime threshold is lowered to 40 hours.