New York Debates Labor Regulations

New York farmers are fighting with state legislators over a proposed farm labor bill that would significantly increase the protections available to farmworkers and increase the regulation of farm labor.
The regulation of farm labor has been a major agricultural issue for the past year. With harsh new immigration laws being passed in several states, and with the overall US economy still struggling, available farm labor has been significantly depressed. With fewer undocumented workers available to hire, farmers have seen a major decline in farmhands and a decline in their overall production.
The proposed Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, in an attempt to lure back lost workers, would mandate overtime pay for farmworkers, increase state regulation of farm labor practices, and would increase the pay of farmworkers in the state.
Upstate politicians wasted no time in condemning the bill. According to one assemblyman, “To have New York City push its policy onto Upstate New York farmers is a huge mistake this will doom upstate farms at a time when agriculture is seeing resurgence. Smart public policy should entail helping farmers expand their operations and encouraging a new generation of young farmers into the field; this bill does just the opposite and sets New York on a devastating path in the wrong direction.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer