Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released the following statement after the New York State Department of Labor moved forward to adopt regulations to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours.
Stefanik has previously pointed out that the Farm Laborer Wage Board ignored over 70% of testimony from farmers and multiple scientific reports. Additionally, she warned against how this decision would devastate the agriculture landscape of New York State by making it less competitive and that the proposal would cost farms an increased 42% in labor costs, approximately $264 million per year.
"Albany Democrats have ignored the concerns of farmers across New York State by adopting regulations to lower the overtime threshold, which jeopardizes the future of New York's agriculture industry and will put thousands of farm laborers out of work,” Stefanik said. “This out of touch decision makes New York less competitive and will exacerbate the existing labor shortage our farmers are already facing. Upstate New York and the North Country are home to thousands of dairy farmers, apple growers, and maple producers, who work tirelessly to provide for our communities, but are now forced to bear the burden of another wrong decision made in Albany. While Albany Democrats prove their priorities are not for Upstate, I will always support our farmers, because I understand: No farms, no food."
Stefanik has repeatedly opposed the Farm Laborers Wage Board Decision and previously sent a letter to the Wage Board to postpone any consideration of reducing the overtime threshold for farmworkers. Last February, Stefanik led the charge and called on Governor Kathy Hochul to reject the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board’s decision to lower the overtime wage threshold.
In October, she led New York Republicans in submitting a comment letter to New York Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon opposing the proposed rule to lower the overtime threshold for farm workers.
She is a supporter of the Protect Local Farms Act (H.R. 353) to prevent the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board's recommendation to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours per week from taking effect.