More than a dozen New York Republicans running for Congress or are current incumbents in the House of Representatives are backing an effort to block the state from lowering the overtime threshold for farmworkers from 60 hours a week to 40.
The legislation, backed by Reps. Chris Jacobs and Elise Stefanik, has the backing of the state's House delegation as well as 10 Republicans running for a congressional seat this November.
Support from the lawmakers and candidates was announced Tuesday afternoon by Stefanik and comes after a wage board at the state Department of Labor advanced the change.
“Make no mistake, this is a war on rural New York and a direct assault on multi-generational family farms, and Republicans are united in fighting back," Stefanik said. "Kathy Hochul and Albany Democrats shamefully and willingly ignored the outcry from our family farmers who know the devastating impact this decision will have on New York’s farms, agricultural industry, and communities."
Advocates for farm laborers have contended the change will help migrant farm workers and reverse labor policies that have left them out for nearly a century. New York lawmakers and Hochul agreed to subsidize the overtime costs to offset the money paid by farms and agriculture businesses.
The lower overtime threshold itself will not be fully phased in for another decade.
But farmers have argued the change is not reflective of how their businesses operate, which is outside a 40-hour-a-week shift and could drive small operations out of the state.
The issue has been raised in the gubernatorial campaign as well, with Rep. Lee Zeldin, the party's nominee for governor, pledging to reverse the lower threshold if elected.