ALBANY — State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (AD-123), Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees, released the following statements regarding the Wage Board’s decision to set a path to a 40-hour work week for farm workers in New York State, which would be phased in over the next 10 years if approved by NYS Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “I did not support turning this important decision over to a three-person Wage Board; especially one that did not include an appointee from the Department of Ag & Markets. If these recommendations hold, New York must fully commit to helping NY farmers make this work. We are surrounded by states that have not adopted this policy, a federal government still working with wage rules from 1938 and a failed immigration policy. I strongly believe in the dignity of farm work and that workers should be paid wages similar to other industries, while recognizing the unique challenges farms face. In order to do so, farmers will need direct aid and other measures to offset these costs. I am looking forward to working with Governor Hochul and my colleagues to chart a positive path forward for NY agriculture.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Even before the pandemic, farmers were struggling to survive under skyrocketing costs, plummeting food prices, loss of markets, and severe weather events, which have forced thousands of small and mid-sized farms out of business at alarming rates. If we continue to increase farmer costs, we must also commit to bolstering the agriculture sector as a whole, otherwise, the industry will soon cease to exist in New York State which will have a crushing effect on our state’s economy and will leave New Yorkers without a reliable food supply. To make matters worse, our country’s agricultural lands are falling victim to the increasing effects of the Climate Crisis, with all signs pointing to the importance of New York agriculture for the future of our nation’s food security. All workers must be treated fairly, paid a living wage and be able to live with dignity, and we must also ensure the success of the industry, at large. Our farmers need urgent debt and tax relief, they need revenue-generating solutions, and they need to be able to rely on both their state and federal leaders to deliver this support. In order to move forward successfully, all stakeholders involved in the Wage Board’s decision must be ready to work together to advocate for the success of this vital industry and those it employs.”
–The Offices of State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (AD-123)