Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R,C,I-Watertown) is joining with other lawmakers to sponsor new legislation that would effectively end the Farm Laborers Wage Board. The board has been the subject of scrutiny as they have pushed to cap the workweek of farm laborers, even during the food shortages experienced globally throughout the pandemic.
“Not only is there an ongoing food shortage but farmers, particularly those in New York state, have been pushed to the brink. They cannot keep up with the costs of doing business in today’s global economy— the costs of energy, excessively-high taxation, red tape, and now the skyrocketing labor mandates as well,” said Walczyk. “These burdens could not come at a worse time. We’ve seen farmers having to dump milk or sell acreage to developers while consumers can’t find basic foods in the dairy or produce aisle at their local grocery store. It’s because of ill-conceived notions like this board, and that’s why it’s got to go.”
Walczyk is partnering with Assemblyman Andy Goodell in the Assembly and Sen. George Borello in the state Senate on the new bill. Specifically, the bill overturns the 2019 language that created the board and would also eliminate their recommendations, including the January 2022 recommendation that the overtime threshold for farms be lowered to 40 hours a week. If enacted, this bill would ensure the overtime threshold would resume at 60 hours a week to help maintain the state’s well-trained and well-trusted agricultural workforce.