ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Farm owners are warning state lawmakers that legislation that would give farm workers the right to organize to demand better wages and conditions could devastate New York’s agricultural economy.
Several farm owners and the leaders of agricultural trade groups testified against the Farmworker Fair Labor Practice Act during a public hearing on the bill Thursday in Morrisville.
Under current law, agricultural workers aren’t allowed to unionize and many farmers don’t have to pay overtime.
Farm workers told lawmakers that they deserve the same protections as other workers. Some shared stories of injuries, long hours and difficult conditions.
Farm owners said such cases are rare, but that higher wages and potential strikes could drive some farms out of business.
Two additional hearings on the bill are planned.