nydailynews.com nydailynews.com 01 Jan, 2021 09:45 am

Bitter harvest: Farm workers again left out in the cold by state Wage Board refusing them overtime

Bitter harvest: Farm workers again left out in the cold by state Wage Board refusing them overtime
Yes, today is a legal holiday. Yes, today COVID is as widespread and deadly as ever. And yes, today is just another very long day of backbreaking labor for farm workers, particularly for the thousands who tend to cows at industrial dairies or work under glass at huge greenhouses.

xml:space="preserve"> xml:space="preserve"> Hughes was right while McDuffie and Fisher were dead wrong.But even though they’re on the job today, unlike most of us whom they feed, they are also unlike every other employee in this great state, as field hands don’t earn time-and-a-half overtime pay after 40 hours a week.They, and they alone, only qualify for OT after 60 hours, which really means that they don’t get overtime and a normal work week might be 55 hours at straight time.And yes, today is just another very long day of backbreaking labor for farm workers, particularly for the thousands who tend to cows at industrial dairies or work under glass at huge greenhouses.

Today begins the new Legislature and unless Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon overrides the Board, lawmakers must write 40 into law.The Farm Laborers Wage Board was legally charged to consider lowering the threshold from 60 hours, but two members of the panel, David Fisher, president of the anti-worker Farm Bureau growers’ lobby, and Brenda McDuffie, the longtime head of the Buffalo Urban League, refused to consider anything and voted late Thursday afternoon for a new Board to start again at the end of this year.

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