Let farmworkers earn overtime pay

Every New Yorker deserves basic workplace protections – but a racist vestige of the Jim Crow era is still alive and well in the farm business in our state.

Unlike other hourly workers, farm laborers are not entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. The reason for this injustice lies in the initial creation of wage and overtime laws more than 80 years ago. These laws took a page from the Jim Crow south and denied overtime pay to agricultural workers and domestic workers because, at the time, most of them were Black. Today, New York’s agriculture industry continues to allow generations of farmers to build their business plans on the backs of Black and Brown workers.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. Kathy Hochul and the State Department of Labor to support farmworkers’ right to overtime.

Message Recipients:
Governor Kathy Hochul
Dept. of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon

Farmworkers working in a field.
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Your Message

Your voice is urgently needed to end a racist labor practice that denies farmworkers the same protections as almost every other hourly worker. Farmworkers deserve the right to overtime pay.

The passage of the 2019 Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act accomplished many important goals, including removing the exclusion of farmworkers from the right to collective bargaining. But the law still maintains the system of inequality for overtime pay.

Instead of requiring overtime pay after 40 hours, the law called overtime pay after 60 hours and appointed a wage board to determine the extent to which that threshold could be lowered.

The wage board is now holding its final public hearings before making its recommendation to the Department of Labor. You must demand the board end this racist exclusion, and urge the wage board to lower the overtime threshold to 40 hours.

New York’s current overtime exception for farmworkers stretches back to wage and overtime laws passed more than 80 years ago during the Jim Crow era. The right to overtime pay excluded agricultural workers and domestic workers, most of whom were Black at the time.

Bringing wage fairness to farm labor is one way you can fight systemic racism in our state and make sure we honor essential workers in these critical times.

Thank you,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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