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O'Mara Blasts Farm Wage Board Decision

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Elmira, N.Y. — State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) tonight blasted the decision by the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board to recommend rolling back the current 60-hour-per-week overtime threshold for farm workers beginning in 2024. 

The three-member Board, by a vote of 2-1, handed down its decision just hours after closing the last of four virtual hearings on the issue earlier today.  Board member David Fisher, President of the New York Farm Bureau, voted against the recommendation. 

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O’Mara released the following statement: 

“It’s clear that this was a preordained decision by this Wage Board.  The hours of testimony from farmers, farm workers, farm advocates, agricultural representatives and community leaders were still echoing across this state in near-unanimous opposition to lowering the overtime threshold, and the Board took no time at all before coming out with a disastrous decision. 

“It was a charade all along. I and many others warned that this is where the Wage Board was headed from day one. It was put in place only to keep paving the way for the far-left, so-called progressive political agenda that dominates Albany Democrat decision-making.  It had no meaningful or serious concern for the future of family farms and agriculture in New York State. 

“The Board heard from countless individual farmers and the leaders of local farm communities.  It heard from the industry’s top advocates, including the New York Farm Bureau, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Grow NY Farms, and numerous others.  It heard from local, federal, and state representatives, like myself, who fear the undermining and ongoing collapse of an industry and, equally important, a way of life that has defined the regions we represent for generations. 

“The Board ignored us all. They ignored common sense and caution in favor of continuing this relentless pursuit of an extreme political agenda and philosophy that will drive this state over the edge of a fiscal and economic cliff. 

“In fact, Governor Hochul signaled today’s Wage Board decision in her proposed state budget not long ago by proposing a tax credit for overtime costs.  She has clearly been determined to finish what former Governor Cuomo set in motion two years ago. 

“If left to stand, it will change the face of New York State agriculture as we have known it for generations. It will produce a nightmare of a ripple effect across local communities and economies in every region of this state – but especially upstate in regions like I represent throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.  It will profoundly diminish the future of high quality, local food production. It will spark the loss of family farms and the loss of the livelihoods these farms support across the industry and throughout hundreds of local economies.” 

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As if things weren't already hard for family farms, not to mention the ever increasing cost of food. 

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Small family farms are being driven out of the market by these severely out of touch ( or is it all part of the bigger picture ) politicians and their overpaid  and underworked toadies ! 
Hocul … phtt , I will repeat my thoughts on her . She is just Coumo with different Plumbing ! 

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Elmira, N.Y., September 6—The state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board late today approved its final recommendation to roll back the current 60-hour-per-week overtime threshold for farm workers to 40 hours in a move strongly criticized by State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats). 

The three-member Wage Board, by a vote of 2-1, handed down its final recommendation during a virtual meeting. Board member David Fisher, President of the New York Farm Bureau, voted against it.   

Governor Hochul now has 45 days to either approve or reject the board’s recommendation. 

O’Mara, who over the past three years has been a strong critic of the Wage Board and its move to lower the overtime threshold, again urged Hochul to put a stop to the misguided action.  

O’Mara said, “The Wage Board has been moving in this direction from the start and now Governor Hochul has the opportunity to finally reject it. She should listen to the thousands of farmers, farm workers, farm advocates, agricultural representatives, community leaders, and legislators, including me, in near-unanimous opposition. The message has been delivered from the industry’s top advocates, including the New York Farm Bureau, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Grow NY Farms, and numerous others.  Local, federal, and state representatives have made it known that we fear the undermining of an industry and, equally important, a way of life that has defined the regions we represent. If left to stand, it will change the face of New York State agriculture as we have known it for generations.  It will risk the future of high quality, local food production. It will spark the loss of more family farms and the livelihoods these farms support across the industry and throughout hundreds of local economies. Now is no time to risk regulating and mandating an even more uncertain future for family farmers, farm workers, farm communities, and New York’s agricultural industry overall.” 

In 2019, he strongly opposed the legislation, known as the “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act,” creating the Wage Board when it was enacted by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Democrat-led majorities in the Senate and Assembly. 

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They lower the threshold from 60 hours to 40, foods gonna get a whole lot more expensive. Except milk, because dairy farmers will go udders up.

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The problem is I don't see her not accepting the recommendation. 

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am i missing something here? how many actual family farms have employees, or many, that are on payroll versus a family pitching in to run the business?

more importantly, how would many here feel if your current employers were able to say OT would not apply to you until after you worked 60 hours?

sorry but if anything over 40 hours for police, healthcare, fast food etc is OT why should farming or any other job be different?

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9 hours ago, Adam said:

why should farming or any other job be different?

There are a number of jobs with different pay structures across different industries. Hours "worked" seldom equate to output or "productivity".

When I was a teen in Iowa, detasseling corn and weeding soybean fields were common summer jobs.  Different farms offered different pay options: hourly and piece rate. As a short chubby, non-athletic kid who couldn't tolerate sun/heat....I will be the first to admit that, at hourly, I was paid as much as stronger, more productive workers who could rip out 4 or 5 rows to my one.  

For farms that paid piece rate -  those big strong boys could get my whole day's pay in a couple of hours and make out like bandits. 

To me, it's like DoorDash or Uber drivers making more/less runs in a given "shift".  If someone (farm laborer or gig worker) is more productive than others for whatever reason (efficiency, motivation, ability, whatever)....I think higher compensation should be an option.

But, as near as I can tell, NYS doesn't really allow higher compensation for higher output for farm labor. 

I'm not clear on all the convoluted Farm Labor laws in NYS, but THIS Guide seems to say that NYS says that farms are required to pay less productive workers equal to the "hours" worked. Seems to nullify the model that rewards productivity/output. Like a DoorDash driver making 12 deliveries in 8 hours being paid the same as the driver who made 2 deliveries.

Quote

Can I pay workers a piece rate?

Yes. However, if you pay on a piece rate basis, the piece rate must yield a wage equal to or greater than the minimum wage, even when the employee is a minor. This calculation must also include overtime if the total hours worked exceeds 60 in a week.

 

Edited by MsKreed

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Farming is a 365 day a year endeavor and easily a 10 hour day, particularly in the warmer months. I only worked part time for a local dairy operation at one time, but it was often a long day from morning milking/chores to evening. In the colder months, we'd at least have a chance to take a nap ( and we did ). 

The sad fact is, a lot of farming families aren't seeing the kids take over the reigns when mom and dad decide to retire. Nor is the farm compensated well for their product, leaving them in constant peril of literally, "losing the farm." An employee racking up twenty plus hours of OT on a regular basis in the Summer is going to do one of two things: Put the farm under, fast, or, cause food prices to skyrocket. And your average dairy farmer is already operating at a loss as it is. 

I'm sorry, but anyone who decides to go into farming either for themselves or to work for someone else has to understand up front that it is a thankless job, long hours and lower pay. If that's not good enough, then they an go work for their local Starbucks and join the union there. That'll get them far. 

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Quote

 

Syracuse, N.Y. – Farm workers in New York are about to receive a big bump in overtime pay after a state board recommended that the trigger for overtime wages drop from 60 to 40 hours a week.

The changes will be phased in over the next decade. Farmers are worried, however, that having to pay farm workers like office workers will be so costly it will drive them out of business.

Yet farmers ultimately won’t have to pay for the overtime: Taxpayers will. The state has passed a law that will let farmers get reimbursed for the overtime premium -- plus 18% to cover additional costs.

 

Read the rest here

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9 hours ago, TwinTiersLiving said:

now thats a bunch of BS... particularly is you think about the amount of Legislators/families there of, operate "farms" for the subsidies and tax breaks....but hey my pants are at my ankles and im already bent over so why dont i just reach a bit deeper into my pockets

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State Senator Tom O’Mara is blasting a decision by state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon to approve a controversial recommendation lowering the overtime threshold for farm workers in New York State from 60 to 40 hours. 

Reardon handed down her decision to approve the recommendation late Friday. 

A three-member Farm Wage Board, by a vote of 2-1, handed down its final recommendation to lower the threshold during a virtual meeting on September 6.  

Board member David Fisher, President of the New York Farm Bureau, voted against it. 

Governor Kathy Hochul, together with Reardon, had 45 days to either approve or reject the board’s recommendation.   

O’Mara has been a strong opponent of the Farm Wage Board since voting against the legislation creating it in 2019, when it was enacted by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Democrat-led majorities in the Senate and Assembly. 

O’Mara said, “Governor Hochul and her Cuomo-appointed labor commissioner had the opportunity to choose the future of farming over the so-called ‘progressive’ ideology that is driving this state into the ground. They have rejected thousands of farmers, farm workers, farm advocates, agricultural representatives, community leaders, and legislators, including me, who have spoken in near-unanimous opposition to this move. They have rejected the industry’s top advocates, including the New York Farm Bureau, the Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Grow NY Farms, and numerous others. They have decided to undermine an industry and a way of life that has defined the regions we represent. It will change the face of New York State agriculture as we have known it for generations. It will risk the future of high quality, local food production. It will spark the loss of more family farms and the livelihoods these farms support across the industry and throughout hundreds of local economies. At the worst possible time, Governor Hochul is mandating an even more uncertain future for family farmers, farm workers, farm communities, and New York’s agricultural industry overall.  Add it to the long and growing list of terrible, politically motivated decisions by this governor.” 

 

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Coming soon to NY: Iceberg lettuce, $5.00 a head. 

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It shouldn't raise prices since the state is paying the overtime cost up to 60 hours a week. 

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21 hours ago, Kevin said:

It shouldn't raise prices since the state is paying the overtime cost up to 60 hours a week. 

And the state has several years to "forget" that little detail. I tell you this, if our taxes don't skyrocket to cover the cost, you will see food prices do so. I'd bet money on the latter. 

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