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ElmiraTelegram

Bill To Allow NY Farm Workers To Organize Passes Assembly, Expected To Be Signed Into Law

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ElmiraTelegram    121

Today the New York State Assembly passed S6578/A8419, also known as the “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.”  This piece of legislation was sponsored by two downstate New York legislators,Senator Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst), chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Long Island City).  It is expected to be signed into law.

"With the passage of this legislation, we will help ensure every farmworker receives the overtime pay and fair working conditions they deserve,"said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "The constitutional principles of equality, fairness and due process should apply to all of us. I am proud that, with the help of my daughters' years-long advocacy on this critical issue, we got it done."

The act will not only allow farm laborers in New York to unionize, but also allows for overtime pay after 60 hours and one day of rest per week. It further requires time and a half overtime pay for a worker “voluntarily” working on their allotted, by law, day off whether or not the worker has exceeded the weekly hours threshold triggering overtime pay. 

Opponents of the act,  including the New York Farm Bureau and Unshackle Upstate, argue that it will increase already exorbitant farm labor costs in New York State by nearly $300 million or close to 20%, resulting in an across-the-board drop in net farm income of 23% and driving many farmers out of business.  For many specific agricultural sectors, including the dairy industry, and vegetable and fruit growers, the increased costs would be unsustainable.  According to a 2016 economic analysis from Farm Credit East (www.farmcrediteast.com), an agricultural credit and financial organization, total farm labor costs in New York State were 63 percent of net cash farm income, compared to 36 percent nationally.  

"This action has devastating implications for family farms and an entire agricultural industry that has long been the cornerstone of economies and cultures across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and throughout upstate New York," said Senator Tom O'Mara, who voted against the bill. "It’s another extreme move by a radically progressive state government, under one-party control, that will cost jobs, devastate hard-working families, and further weaken the foundations of local upstate economies.”

A release sent out by the senator's office says that New York state has already lost 20% of its dairy farms in the last five years alone. 

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Chris    906

To paraphrase a Star Wars movie, “So this is how farming in NY dies . . . with thunderous applause.” You can kiss what few family farms are still holding on goodbye. And expect to pay a hell of a lot more for your food. 

With the passage of this law, farmers who up until now have provided their farm help with housing should begin to charge market rate rent and deduct utilities from their pay. 

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KReed    414

What a shame.

I have been saddened for years now whenever I hear the tired argument that we “need” immigrants because not enough Americans are willing to work at seasonal farm jobs.

Growing up in Iowa, that work was done by teenagers. Yep… because seasonal hours were limited, the pay was too low for an adult to support a family. But it was perfect for high school students:

It paid considerably more than other “kid” jobs (babysitting, paper routes or stuff grocery bags for minimum wage).

It was unskilled.

No experience or training necessary.

And completely between school terms (it’s almost as if the schools designed their academic year around farm work!)

It was the same story in every rural town across the Midwest:

We filled out a form at the local Youth Bureau to be on the roster. Then whatever days we were available, we showed up by 5:30 am to board the bus. If the bus was full before you arrived, you didn’t show up early enough. Unless there was severe weather cancellation, thirty of us went to different farms every day to either de-tassel corn stalks or walk rows of soybeans pulling weeds (and last years corn stragglers). They provided a lunch and ample water/koolaid (and anything you brought for yourself). We rolled back to the bus stop by 2 pm and went on with our day.

 

I’m appalled that this practice is no longer a “thing” for Iowa kids…and never understood why NY vineyards hadn’t adopted such a practice. But I guess too many parents are busy spoiling their kids rotten to make the money appealing these days.

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Johnny Go    152

Does anyone know where you can go to smell cow manure?  It's been so long now, that I don't really remember what it smells like, but I know I used to like it when it was everywhere.

I guess I'll never smell manure again. 

(Someone should write a song with that title and pay me royalties so I can live a life of luxury like our dear, sweet political leaders.

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Chris    906
12 minutes ago, Johnny Go said:

Does anyone know where you can go to smell cow manure?  It's been so long now, that I don't really remember what it smells like, but I know I used to like it when it was everywhere.

I guess I'll never smell manure again. 

It used to be pretty prominent here, and not in a bad way. Not anymore. 

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Adam    19
26 minutes ago, Chris said:

It used to be pretty prominent here, and not in a bad way. Not anymore. 

nope just plenty of Bullshit everywhere ya look though

 

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Hal    213
48 minutes ago, Johnny Go said:

Does anyone know where you can go to smell cow manure?  It's been so long now, that I don't really remember what it smells like, but I know I used to like it when it was everywhere.

I guess I'll never smell manure again. 

(Someone should write a song with that title and pay me royalties so I can live a life of luxury like our dear, sweet political leaders.

🎼Oh I smelled something wrong in Denmark 🎶

I smelled something stinky in Spain 🎶

🎼and something doesn’t smell right in Baldwin 🎶

but I’ll never smell manure in New York Again ... 🎶

How dat ?? 

  • Haha 1

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Hal    213

Thank you , thank you ... I’ll be here all week .. try the fish ! Bwahaa ! 

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