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Local farmers say current farm overtime bill creates complications

(WBNG) — There is currently a bill in the New York State Senate that would require mandatory overtime pay for farm workers, but local farmers are saying the bill is making it harder for small farms to survive.

“We’re already in a financially stressed industry as a whole,” said Glezen Farms Owner, Scott Glezen. “It would be a big impact on us.”

For workers on Glezen Farms in Lisle, they say it’s been a tough time lately, especially with relatively low milk prices.

“If somebody enjoys and loves the industry and wants to work and if sometimes it means working overtime, to understand that’s okay. If people enjoy their work, then I don’t know what’s wrong with that,” said Glezen.

The potential of needing to pay workers more is making farm owners like Glezen feel the pinch.

“It’d be one more thing we’d have to look into,” said Glezen. “Any added financial stress just doesn’t feel very good to us.”

The farm bill has been around in the legislature in some form for 15 years, but has never been put into place.

Assemblywoman (D) Donna Lupardo says more needs to be looked at with this bill.

“Clearly, farm workers, and farm work in general, is a different business model than other businesses and we want to make sure if we do something, we have everyone’s agreement,” said Lupardo.

One of the problems farmers have with this bill is the amount of work on a farm doesn’t always stay the same.

“Overtime hours, I think the assumption is every week everyone is working 70 or 80 or 90 hours and it’s not always that way. It’s more seasonal,” said Glezen.

Assemblywoman Lupardo says she’s taking those concerns into consideration.

“We’re trying to find a way a compromise can be reached, something everyone can live with,” said Lupardo.

The bill is currently being reviewed in the labor committee in the State Senate.

It will need to be voted on by the State Senate, Assembly, and approved by the governor to become a law.

Anne Sparaco

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