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News of Otsego County

wage board

Farm worker overtime threshold

Delgado, Molinaro trade comments on farm worker overtime

New York State Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon has not yet rendered her decision on whether to accept the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week, but that hasn’t stopped likely 2022 19th congressional district race foes Antonio Delgado and Marc Molinaro from lobbing a few press release barbs at each other over the issue.

Incumbent Congressman Delgado (D) released a March 29, 2022 letter he sent to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to reject the Board’s January decision.

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.”

Farm Laborers Wage Hearing to take place January 4

Farm Laborers Wage Hearing to take place January 4

The New York State Department of Labor announced that a virtual hearing to discuss the overtime threshold for farm workers will take place on Tuesday, January 4, at 3:30 p.m.

The main topic of discussion will be whether the required hours of overtime for farm workers should be lowered from 60 to 40.

Members of the Farm Laborers Wage Board which include New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher, and former president of the New York State AFL-CIO Denis Hughes, will be present at the meeting.

County’s farmers push back on overtime

Otsego County Farm Bureau Vice President Darin Hickling, calls the overtime proposal a “nail in the coffin” for New York’s farmers.

County’s farmers
push back on overtime

Farmers across New York State, including Otsego County, are speaking out in opposition as a New York State Department of Labor Farm Laborers’ Wage Board considers lowering the threshold at which farm workers earn overtime pay from 60 hours per week to 40, a move farmers say will devastate their businesses.

Farmers went to Albany Wednesday, December 1, to deliver letters to Governor Kathy Hochul opposing the move and urging the Wage Board to keep the 60-hour overtime week.

The Farm Laborers Fair Practice Act, signed into law by former New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, statutorily reduced the weekly overtime threshold from 80 hours to 60 beginning January 1, 2020. The law also included workers’ compensation, one day of rest during the calendar week, unemployment insurance, disability, and the right to organize.

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