Hawley: Farm labor bill a death blow to ag industry
A Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on Gov. Cuomo signing the Farm Labor Bill into law July 17:
“The largest farm in New York City is a seasonal pumpkin patch but that didn’t stop radical politicians from dictating how our farms should operate. This disastrous legislation, ironically signed in a place with no farms, has the potential to single-handedly destroy family farming in New York as we know it.
“To make matters worse, the newly-created Wage Board, stacked with more big-labor, big-union interests than actual farmers, can unilaterally alter the labor laws how they see fit moving forward.
“Altering the maximum number of hours allowed per week or reversing the ‘no strike clause’ at any moment, goes completely against the farming industry’s standard practices where crop yields, weather patterns and labor needs are consistently fluid. If a farm can’t operate because of unavoidable weather conditions or because workers are mandated time off – the repercussions will be devastating.
“What these big-city politicians don’t understand is that our family farms are always under the gun since our growing season is virtually half of California and Florida – making reliable labor, many times seven days of week, a necessity.
“As the former owner and operator of our family farm in Batavia, I know first hand how devastating this could be to our industry. As a former president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau and 14-year member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, I’ve spoken with many farmers and producers about this bill and its devastating effects unlike the New York City politicians who crafted this disaster. Their concerns were voiced yet ignored.
“Our family farms are not corporations, they are not run by money-hungry business people, they are ordinary families like yours and mine who have learned this art from prior generations and intend to pass it on to their children. It’s what they love, and I will always stand behind them to fight these new regulations in any way I can.”