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September 8, 2022 - 6:27pm

Chris Jacobs introduces federal legislation to override potential state rule on farm worker overtime

posted by Press Release in farm labor, NY-27, news, agriculture, Chris Jacobs.

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) to prevent the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board's recommendation to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week from taking effect. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) is a co-sponsor of the legislation as well.

“Two days ago, the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board handed down their final recommendation to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers from 60 hours to 40 hours – this is a devastating decision made by out-of-touch bureaucrats which will bankrupt family farms throughout our state and end farming as we know it. If Governor Hochul approves this recommendation, she is signing the death warrant for thousands of farms,” Jacobs said. “Farming is not like other industries. It is not a normal work week, is subject to weather, and operates within very slim margins. None of these factors were properly considered before this recommendation was made. Our already small workforce will be further depleted as workers seek more hours in other states, and our farmers will face dire financial burdens. That is why I am proud to introduce the Protect Local Farms Act to combat this ignorant decision and keep the threshold at 60 hours. We need our New York farmers – they’re critical to our community, economy, and health.”

“I’m standing up for our hardworking farmers and workers devastated by Albany’s out-of-touch decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold. As this decision jeopardizes New York’s agriculture industry, puts thousands of farm laborers out of work, and makes New York less competitive by sending our workers to neighboring states in the midst of a labor shortage, this bill will set a federal standard to ensure the overtime threshold for agricultural workers cannot be lowered beyond 60 hours a week, so our farmers can continue to operate their farms and New York can continue its strong contributions to our food security. I am proud to provide this critical check on Far-Left Democrats who are crushing out Upstate farmers. Upstate families will always support our farms, because we understand: No farms, no food,” Stefanik said.

"The farmworker overtime threshold in New York makes it harder for our farms to make ends meet when we face higher labor costs than nearly every other state in the country. Rep. Jacobs common sense legislation looks to put every farm on the same level playing field. A set minimum federal overtime threshold will eliminate the competitive edge one state has over another and benefit farmworkers at the same time," said Patrick McCormick, dairy farmer and New York Farm Bureau State Director.

The Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) is designed to combat the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board decision by mandating federally that the overtime threshold for the agriculture industry cannot be set lower than 60 hours per week – keeping New York’s current threshold in place.

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