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Farm Laborers Wage Board forwards recommendation to lower overtime threshold to state labor commissioner

Picture of a farm tractor
WAMC/Pat Bradley
Farm tractor plowing field

The New York Farm Laborers Wage Board has formally sent its recommendation that farmworker overtime be lowered to the state labor commissioner.

The wage board has been taking testimony for over two years regarding a proposal to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers from 60 to 40 hours over ten years. At their final meeting Tuesday evening, members voted 2 to 1 to forward the recommendation to the state Labor Commissioner.

Buffalo Urban League past president Brenda McDuffie voted in favor of the shift, which as proposed, would occur over a decade.

“We believe that this decision protects the right of farm laborers while taking in account the needs of farmers,” said McDuffie.

Board member and New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher eviscerated the report for what he called multiple inaccuracies and conclusions based on opinions.

“I didn’t come into the process with blinders on,” Fisher said. “I knew the cards were stacked against the position of my organization and what agriculture truly believes is best for farms, farm workers and the food supply.”

AFL-CIO past president Denis Hughes also voted in favor of lowering threshold.

The labor commissioner has 45 days to accept or reject the recommendations.

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