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Looking at the impact of the new Farm Workers Bill in the Finger Lakes

The new Farm Workers Bill sounds like a fair, socially acceptable right for workers. The problem is that it may put many smaller farms out of business, according to Williamson fruit farmer Gary Orbaker. He added that it will cut profits to family farms already struggling to survive.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Farm Workers Bill on Wednesday (7/17), which establishes the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act to protect farm worker rights and ensure equitable housing and working conditions. The bill grants farm workers overtime pay, a day of rest each week, disability and Paid Family Leave coverage, unemployment benefits and other labor protections. The bill will take effect on January 1, 2020.

“This new law is not just a great achievement in terms of the effect on the human condition, it’s also a milestone in the crusade for social justice,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing this bill into law, 100,000 farmers and their families will have better lives and will finally have the same protections that other workers have enjoyed for over 80 years. This powerful and practical achievement is even more significant in the era of President Trump who continually diminishes workers’ rights, attacks labor unions, disrespects the disenfranchised and has made divide and conquer, rather than unify and grow, the credo of America.”

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