State Senate Agricultural Committee votes down farmworker bill
Apr 25, 2010 5:25 pm
On Tuesday the State Senate's Agriculture Committee voted down the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act. Among features of the bill, farmers would have had to pay over time to laborers who work more than 60 hours a week or 10 hours in a day and farm workers would gain the right to form a union if they work at the state's largest farms. Some farmers protested that the mandates in the bill would be costly. Six of the committee's nine senators — Darrel J. Aubertine, Michael H. Ranzenhofer, James L. Seward (who represents Greene County), David J. Valesky, George H. Winner Jr. and Catharine M. Young — voted against the bill. On Seward's website he says, "Defeating the so-called, farm worker labor bill is a clear victory for our upstate farmers, farm workers and the agriculture industry,” said Senator Seward. “The bill, supported mainly by New York City politicians, would have forced farms to close, while driving up costs for the few survivors.” The bill would have granted collective bargaining rights to farm laborers; required employers of farm laborers to allow at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week; provided for an 8 hour work day for farm laborers; required overtime rate at one and one-half times normal rate; made provisions of unemployment insurance law applicable to farm laborers; provided a sanitary code that would have applied to all farm and food processing labor camps intended to house migrant workers, regardless of the number of occupants; provided for eligibility of farm laborers for workers' compensation benefits; required employers of farm laborers to provide such farm laborers with claim forms for workers' compensation claims under certain conditions; required reporting of injuries to employers of farmworkers.