Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie) is applauding an announcement by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) that she is introducing the Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 8756) in Congress, which would 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. It would do so by making it federally prohibited for states to set their overtime thresholds for the agricultural industry lower than 60 hours, placing a federal restriction on any attempt by New York to lower the threshold to 40 hours in the state.
Tague has relentlessly opposed the reduction of the farm laborer overtime threshold throughout the last year and has on many occasions gathered with farm owners and laborers who would be affected by it to express their opposition to its implementation. Tague has been incredibly critical of the wage board’s decision to recommend lowering the threshold, pointing to concerns expressed by farmers and farm laborers personally as well as numerous academic studies that express why lowering the threshold would jeopardize the viability of farms that cannot operate on a 40 hour, 9 to 5 schedule.
“The passage of this law would be a godsend for New York’s farmers, farm laborers and rural communities, who have been waiting anxiously throughout the year to see whether or not their entire way of life will be jeopardized by the reduction of the farm laborer overtime threshold,” said Tague. “I thank Congresswoman Stefanik for introducing this legislation and encourage all New Yorkers to reach out to their representatives in Congress to urge them to co-sponsor this incredibly important bill. The future of agriculture as we know it in New York state may depend on it.”