State Senator Fred Akshar says Democrats are preparing to push through farm worker legislation without giving farmers the opportunity to be heard.
Democrats have proposed a bill that would grant certain employee rights to farm workers that they don’t currently have, such as overtime pay, workers comp, unemployment and that right to unionize.
They’ve scheduled hearings on the matter on Long Island, the Catskills and Madison County in Central New York.
Akshar is asking for Democrats that control the Senate to schedule hearings in every agricultural corner of the state. “You can’t just have a couple of hearings in Long Island and the Hudson Valley to completely understand the issues surrounding agriculture. So, I think they’re falling far short in just having the 3 hearings.”
Akshar says his Southern Tier district has the most farms per capita of any district in the state.
Akshar opposes the legislation saying it would heap further pain on an already decimated dairy industry.
The New York Farm Bureau estimates it will cost New York agriculture an additional $300 million in labor costs.
Whittaker Farms in Whitney Point figures its payroll would increase $200,000 – 500,000 per year.
Akshar says Farmers would likely cut back on the workers hours or simply go out of business.