Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is encouraging constituents to reach out to Labor Commissioner Reardon and Gov. Hochul in the wake of an announcement that the Farm Laborer Wage Board will reconvene on Sept. 6 to vote on whether or not they will advance a final report recommending the farm laborer overtime threshold be lowered from 60 hours to 40. It has been projected by Farm Credit East that farmers’ labor costs could rise by over 40% over the next several years if the overtime threshold is lowered, jeopardizing their continued viability.
The wage board recommended lowering the farm laborer threshold this January, but still has not released a final report containing regulatory recommendations. If they do stick to their earlier recommendation in their final report, it will be Labor Commissioner Reardon’s decision whether or not to accept or reject their recommendations within 45 days of when they’re issued. If Reardon advances recommendations to lower the threshold, Gov. Hochul would then need to choose whether or not they should be signed into law.
“The fate of agriculture as we know it in our state, from the fields to our store shelves, rests in the hands of the Labor Wage Board, our governor, and Labor Commissioner Reardon,” said Hawley. “Farmers from all corners of the state have made it clear that a lowering of the threshold will threaten the well-being of rural communities whose economies have for centuries centered around farming and agriculture. Agri-business owners, farmers and rural advocates have made the dangerous consequences of this decision incredibly clear, so I only hope that the Wage Board, Commissioner Reardon, and Gov. Hochul will do what’s right for our farms and agrarian municipalities.”
Hawley is encouraging anyone concerned for the future of New York’s farms, rural communities and food security to reach out to Labor Commissioner Reardon and Gov. Hochul to urge them not to move forward with this reduction in the farm laborer overtime threshold.
Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon office contact:
Department of Labor
State Office Bldg # 12
W.A. Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12240
Gov. Hochul office contact
Online contact form: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
The Honorable Kathy Hochu
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224