Tague and Borrello Respond to Upstate Lawmakers Press Conference Regarding the Overtime Threshold for Farm Laborers

ALBANY – In response to a press conference by several Assembly Majority lawmakers decrying the decision of the Labor Commissioner and Farm Laborers Wage Board to approve lowering the overtime threshold for farm workers, Assemblyman Chris Tague and Sen. George Borrello made the following statements:

“Some of my Assembly Majority colleagues held a press conference this week speaking out against the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s decision to lower the overtime threshold for farm laborers to 40 hours. For two years I have been calling for the disbandment of the Farm Laborers Wage Board. The bill I put forward, known as the Food Insecurity, Farm Resiliency, and Rural Poverty Initiative, would have done just that, and protected all farmers and farm laborers, both large-scale and small-scale, from further dangerous regulations. Many downstate Majority lawmakers signed on and supported my bill, but many at the press conference today waited until the decision was released to finally show their outrage, right before an election. Coincidence? No, this is purely a political ruse, and our farmers are the ones who will have to suffer for the inaction of many Majority politicians,” said Assemblyman Tague, Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee

“There is a reason the bill I put forth has bipartisan support. Many of us know how crucial farming is to both upstate and downstate New Yorkers. Every little bodega that sells local products in the city could very well be out of business soon as leaders from the Majority have essentially destroyed farming as we know it in this state with their reckless, thoughtless and downright dangerous extreme liberal policies. I want to thank every member, both Majority and Minority lawmakers, who signed onto my bi-partisan bill,” he continued.

“Farmers are the lifeblood of this state; the people in charge of this state who sit in their ivory towers in New York City have no clue what they are in for. When our state is running out of food and we have to turn to other states or countries for help, I will be here to say I told you so. When the great people of our state are running into more problems affording basic grocery products that our state could have easily produced, I will be here to say I told you so. When our state’s economy is even more in the red than it is now, I will be here to say I told you so. Just remember, no farms, no food,” said Tague.

Sen. George Borrello, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also commented on the upstate press conference:

“For the last two years, Assemblyman Tague and I, along with our Minority Conferences and farmers and farm workers from across the state, have been fighting against lowering the overtime threshold. We’ve spoken at hearings, roundtables, and more press conferences than I can count. We offered volumes of data and stakeholder input showing the damage that would result from a lower threshold. We would have welcomed our Majority colleagues to join us at these events to help demonstrate bipartisan unity on this issue. Their forceful opposition to the governor, labor commissioner and wage board may have prevented the disastrous decision now facing our farmers,” said Senator George Borrello, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

While we now welcome their alliance on this issue, they need to translate that into action by joining us in demanding the majorities repeal the damaging legislation that created this rigged process. Their words will ring hollow unless they stand up to the downstate leadership of their party that has allowed radical special interests to inflict so much damage on New York agriculture and our family farms,” Borrello said.