Walczyk Opposes Lowering Farm Overtime Threshold

Calls on Hochul to Support Farms by Stopping Expensive Mandate

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R,C-Watertown) joined members of the Assembly Minority Conference in calling for Gov. Hochul to oppose the newly-proposed 40-hour workweek from the Farm La-borers Wage Board. This proposal would limit the overtime threshold by 20 hours per week, causing labor costs to rise significantly for farms across the state.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic and also in the midst of rising inflation,” said Walczyk. “There are food shortages everywhere, and the fact that downstate special interests do not understand the vital importance of keeping our farms up and running is clear with this proposal. Gov. Hochul should be willing to stand up to them, put the people and farms of this state first and oppose this industry-killing plan.”

Walczyk and his colleagues sent a letter to the governor and commissioner of the state Department of Labor expressing their opposition and seeking their support in rejecting the recommendation. The proposal would drive up labor costs for farmers by as much as 42 percent. Inevitably, more family farms will close and consumers will be paying more at grocery stores for food and products that are made further away from home or even outside of the country in more competitive labor markets—similar to what has happened in other industries like the manufacturing of goods like clothing, car parts and technology.

Not only would the new 40-hour limit drive up costs for farms and consumers at a time when no one can afford a rise in costs, but given the ongoing concerns of the pandemic and political climate Walczyk said this is not the time for downstate special interests to be gambling with the future of New York’s family farms, which was once the backbone of the state’s economy.

He said, “Just look at what’s been going on along the United States-Canadian border and all the delays we have in the shipping industry. And the bad news doesn’t stop there. People are afraid to buy something as simple as romaine lettuce because when it comes shipped in from other countries it is causing all kinds of sickness and getting recalled. Why would anyone want to destroy the trusted family farms we have right here in the Front Yard of America, or anywhere in New York, for that? Gov. Hochul, please join us and reject this proposal.”