Assemblyman Norris wants state to freeze overtime limit for farmworkers at 60 hours
Press Release, Assemblyman Mike Norris
Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C,I,Ref-Lockport) has written to the New York Farm Labor Wage Board to ask them to freeze the overtime provisions for farm laborers at its current limitation of 60 hours per week.
Norris was opposed to the creation of the wage board and voted against the legislation in the first place because he felt it delegated authority away from the state Legislature and placed unreasonable restrictions on the agricultural community – a community and leading economic industry that faces unpredictable factors, such as weather, and is in need of flexibility.
“As we have seen just this year alone with the pandemic, there was a greater need for locally-produced food because of travel restrictions and production being slowed down elsewhere; however, because of this new requirement many farmers in our state have had to cut back on their plans in order to afford a more limited staff,” said Norris. “Ultimately, it is the consumer who suffers, and our state is less competitive. Grocery stores will be stocking cheaper items from out of state when they can because that’s what will drive sales.”
During this pandemic shutdown, the wage board began holding limited hearings online and is now considering reducing the workweek even further beyond the established 60 hours. With farmers already stretched too thin, Norris hopes the wage board will delay any consideration of further restrictions until after the pandemic is resolved, if not permanently.
“We must give our farms a fighting chance to survive in New York,” he said. “Our agricultural community provides us with our necessary food supply and we must do everything possible to keep them fully operational especially during this pandemic.”