Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I,Ref-Schoharie) recently voted against a bill that would heavily regulate the agriculture industry in upstate New York. Tague is particularly concerned with the bills lack of concern with the unique circumstances and hours running a functional farm requires. The bill would create a system of collective bargaining that would drive most local and small farmers out of business.
I severely doubt the sponsors of this bill understand the impact its going to have, Tague said. As a former dairy farmer, I know this industry inside and out, backward and forward. There is no way you can legislate the nuances and unique variables that each farm has in terms of work hours and overtime. Those who support this bill obviously have no sense of what it takes to be a farmer nor care what this bill would do to the thousands of families who have operated farms upstate for generations. I am stringently against this bill and what it will do to the lifeblood of many upstate communities.
The bill, known as the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act provides collective bargaining rights for farm laborers, designates at least 24 consecutive hours a week of rest and designates an 8-hour work day for farm laborers while stipulating one and a half times normal pay during overtime hours.