ELBA, NY – Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt today visited Torrey Farms, a member of the Grow NY Farms Coalition, and toured their 13,000-acre property ahead of the state Farm Labor Wage Board’s review of the 60-hour overtime threshold.
“New York’s agriculture industry has struggled with increased costs of doing business because of overreaching state mandates, and was further damaged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further decreasing the overtime threshold for employees on these generations-old farms will limit the opportunities available and force countless farmhands to look for more work in neighboring states. I want to thank the farmers and workers who offered their perspective today, and I urge the wage board to listen to those who will be directly affected -- not the activists in Albany -- before making their determination on the state’s overtime threshold,” said Leader Ortt.
Later this year, the New York State Farm Labor Wage Board will revisit the 2019 Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act’s 60-hour overtime threshold for farmworkers and determine if a decrease to 40 hours will be necessary. Farmers are at risk of closing and not being able to pay any workers at all with the potential for an even more onerous overtime threshold.
During the tour, Leader Ortt and several state lawmakers had the opportunity to see the real implications of a lowered threshold through the eyes of farmers and farmworkers alike. After the tour, Leader Ortt reiterated his support for New York’s farms, farmers, and workers against Albany’s overreaching mandates.