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News of Otsego County

overtime

Letter: Farmers deserve a fair return

Letter: Farmers deserve a fair return

Recent reports and letters that advocate for keeping the overtime pay threshold at 60 hours rather than reducing it to 40 present valid issues facing farmers today. Farmers struggle, caught between increasing costs and low income from processors who set the prices they will pay.

Farming is a noble profession; farmers need and deserve to make a steady, predictable profit. Paying overtime at the 40-hour threshold will hurt farmers. Prices would need to rise to accommodate that pay increase.

My question: if a business needs to underpay workers to survive, isn’t that business marginal? Aren’t the workers subsidizing those businesses?

Americans need to pay farmers more for their products. We have the cheapest food in the world. Food processors get to set prices to ensure that they always make a profit, while farmers take all the risks. It is unfair and inefficient to squeeze costs out of the lowest link in the production food chain — the farm workers.

Perhaps Americans could begin to look at the true cause of the crisis in farming, and help farmers look UP the food chain for a fair return for feeding us. Americans could support farmers in their effort to get paid fairly. Maybe then we could save more family farms.

Virginia Tomlinson
Oneonta

Farm Wage Board OKs lower threshold

Farm Wage Board OKs lower threshold

The state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board met January 28 to take testimony from those crowded out of its three prior sessions, then took a surprise vote to recommend a phased-in lowering of the overtime threshold to 40 hours per week from its current 60 hours per week.

With a 2-1 vote, the Board recommended a 10-year ramp to the new threshold, reducing the mark for farm laborers by four hours per week every two years beginning in 2024. The Board sent its recommendation to Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon and Governor Kathy Hochul.

Board Chair Brenda McDuffie, president of the Buffalo Urban League, called the vote “something historical,” Board member Denis Hughes, former president of the New York State AFL-CIO said it was “smart” for the panel to “give a long leeway, a long amount of time to understand what changes can be and should be made.”

Farm Laborers Wage Board Meets, Recommends Phased In Overtime Threshold 

Farm Laborers Wage Board Meets,
Recommends Phased In Overtime Threshold

The state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board met on the afternoon of Friday, January 28 to take testimony from those crowded out of its three prior sessions, then took a surprise vote to recommend a phased-in lowering of the overtime threshold to 40 hours per week from its current 60 hours per week.

With a 2-1 vote, the Board recommended a 10-year ramp to the new threshold, reducing the mark for farm laborers by four hours per week every two years beginning in 2024. The Board sent its recommendation to Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon and Governor Kathy Hochul.

Board Chair Brenda McDuffie, president of the Buffalo Urban League, called the vote “something historical,” Board member Denis Hughes, former president of the New York State AFL-CIO said it was “smart” for the panel to “give a long leeway, a long amount of time to understand what changes can be and should be made.”

Otsego Assemblyman warns state’s Farm Wage panel against drop in overtime threshold

Assemblyman Chris Tague worries New York’s agriculture economy will suffer if the state’s Wage Board drops the overtime threshold for workers.

Otsego Assemblyman warns state’s Farm Wage panel against drop in overtime threshold

Otsego County farmers and their representatives wait anxiously as New York’s Department of Labor inches toward establishing its overtime work threshold for farm workers across the state — a decision that could come soon.

Assemblyman Chris Tague (R), whose district includes a broad swath of the county and a former dairy farmer himself, isn’t optimistic about the outcome.

“I was disappointed when I listened to Governor Hochul’s State of the State message last week,” he said. “When she started talking about increasing tax credits for farmers to offset operating costs, to me, that was a private message that the Wage Board will drop the overtime threshold.”

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