Influence of unions and Kennedy’s on NY Gov’t
Looks like farm workers rights get more positive press coverage than 2A and pro-life people do. Wonder if it has anything to do with the elections in 2014 where the the AG is pushing for early voting the unions and the influence of the Kennedy family on Cuomo. Here are a few quotes from today’s presser.
@CBS6Pat: Silver starts presser by saying today is “justice day” for farmers at the state Capitol
@gblainnydn: Kerry Kennedy stands with Assembly Speaker Silver at press conference for farm workers bill
@CBS6Pat: AFL/CIO leader says he is embarrassed as a New Yorker that farmers don’t have same rights as other workers
@CBS6Pat: Farm owner Jack Manning now speaking in support of farmer worker rights says “I don’t know a small farmer against this bill”
The only counter to the farmers rights bill was from the @NYFarmBureau via
@fud31: “From NY Farm Bureau’s perspective,a vote (for) the so-called ‘farm worker fair labor practices act’ is a vote against NY…farm families”
Assembly acts to extend farm workers’ rights
The Democrat-dominated state Assembly on Monday passed the latest version of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which would grant agricultural workers collective bargaining rights, disability and unemployment benefits, an eight-hour workday and the expansion of the state sanitary code to cover farm and food processing labor facilities.
The vote was 82-53.
Downstate urban legislators trying to push through farm labor bill
Like a bad dream that keeps recurring, New York farmers are once again fighting legislation that could put many of them out of business, or radically change the way they do business.
Assembly Democrats yesterday pushed through a farm labor bill similar to one defeated two years ago that would require overtime pay, require at least 24 hours off consecutive time of each week and allow for collective bargaining.
The bill passed the Assembly 82-53 and moves to the GOP-controlled Senate, where it was defeated two years ago, but the fight isn’t over, said Dean Norton, president of the NY Farm Bureau.
‘Any time a law this bad for us is passed in one house with the closeness of the leadership in the Senate, we’re concerned,” Norton said. “We still need our farmers to contact their senators and let them know how they feel about it.”
Many of the arguments being made in support of the bill are disingenuous, Norton said. Farmers already pay minimum wage or higher, provide housing and are covered by workers compensation.
“What we have now is downstate legislators who have no experience with farms telling us how to run our farms and trying to put in protections that are already in place,” Norton said.
New York is ranked 27th in farm production in the nation, but number two in labor costs. New York’s labor costs are 56 percent higher than the national average.
New York farmers pay an average of $26 per acre in property taxes compared to a national average of $6 per acre.
Supporters of the bill like to compare New York to California, Norton noted, but California is the number agriculture state in the nation and has a 10-month growing season. New York’s season is five months at best.
As Assemblyman Steve Hawley said during yesterday’s floor debate, “There’s an old adage — when sun shines you have to make the hay.”
In New York, crops don’t wait for the next eight-hour shift to ripen. Harvest time is harvest time.
But neither do workers work all year long. There’s a short period of time for them to make the most money they can.
If New York institutes a 40-hour work week for farm labor, Norton said, many labors won’t work fewer hours, they’ll just get a second job because they know harvest time is the time to make money.
Hawley also argued that if working conditions are bad on a farm, a farmer will have a hard time finding and retaining workers.
Below is a five-minute video produced by the Farm Bureau about the legislation.
Two years ago it was the work of North Country Democrat Darrel J. Aubertine used his power as chair of the agriculture committee to keep the bill from a floor vote. Aubertine was repaid by the GOP with a campaign to win his senate seat.
Without Aubertine, Norton still believes farmers have enough powerful friends in the Senate to defeat the bill, but it won’t go down without a fight.