Clinton County lawmakers oppose farm workers’ rights bill

Local News

A new bill waiting for action in the New York State Assembly would give farm workers in the state more power, but Clinton County lawmakers say they think it’s a bad idea.

The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act would grant New York agriculture workers collective bargaining rights, workers’ compensation benefits and unemployment benefits.

It would also require at least 24 hours of time off once per week, and farm workers that are on the job more than 40 hours a week, would have to be paid overtime.

The Clinton County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday night that opposes the measure.

Mark Henry, county legislator from Chazy, introduced that resolution, saying farm are already struggling enough. He thinks the bill would drive farms out of business and drive agriculture workers out of state.

“It’s not just Clinton County,” he said. “Other counties as well — Franklin, for one; some of our adjoining counties, other ones — have joined in in oppisition to this bill, and we think it would be well timed if we joined as well, concentrated our efforts, as it were, and try to get their attention.”

Clinton County Administrator Michael Zurlo also said during the meeting that he’s been told the bill has a 50-50 chance of passing. North Country Assemblymen Billy Jones and Dan Stec have both said publicly that they oppose it.

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