Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) is encouraging members of the agriculture community to continue reaching out to the state’s Farm Labor Wage Board to persuade them against further reducing the overtime threshold for farm workers. Recently, downstate special interest groups have spearheaded efforts to reduce the overtime threshold all the way down to 40 hours, a move that would spike grocery costs for consumers and put local family farms out of business.
Farms across the state have been besieged by rising costs, including energy prices, various taxes, and rising labor costs as well as the addition of costly mandates from the state leading many farms, particularly small, family-run farms to close, consolidate or downsize operations. As the Consumer Price Index has risen more than 5.4 percent in the last year, New Yorkers, like all Americans, are struggling to make ends meet in the face of inflation. Fewer family farms would reduce local access to produce and other fresh products at a time when global supply chains are in crisis.
“I voted against this matter when it came up in the Assembly because the negative impact it would have on our farms was clear. Now, with inflation and rising costs, families are struggling – even the cost of Christmas trees is through the roof this year,” said Norris. “Families are having to make tough choices and I, for one, think our nation, and this great state, can do better. We have people who want to work, are willing to work and there’s work to be done. This is not the time to limit hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity by putting farmers and farm workers alike out of business.”
An ardent agricultural advocate, Norris says the more people who reach out directly to the Farm Labor Wage Board, the more likely they will be to offset the proposed farm worker overtime expansion. To contact the board, you can call the state Department of Labor at (518) 457-9000, or a better option is to write to them at:
Ms. Brenda McDuffie, Chair
New York Farm Labor Wage Board
W.A. Harriman Campus, Building 12
Albany, NY 12240
In addition to rallying the public, Norris has been working with dozens of his legislative colleagues across party lines to encourage the board, as well as the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture and Markets, to beat back these crippling mandates.
“This is a tough, yet decisive, time for our state. There are far too many people going hungry and out of work,” said Norris. “There are shortages on the shelves. This is not the time to further hinder our path or any individual’s will to work hard and move forward.”