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Farmworkers Aren’t Paid Overtime At 40 Hours. New York Could Change That.

This summary about overtime pay for New York farmworkers was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

The New York Farm Laborers Wage Board yesterday officially recommended that the state Department of Labor decrease farmworkers overtime threshold to 40 hours over the course of the next ten years. 

The labor department has 45 days to accept, reject, or modify the recommendation. If approved, it would take effect starting January 1, 2024.

Unlike other hourly workers in New York, farmworkers are denied overtime at 40 hours:

“Farmworkers have waited over 80 years for an end to the racist exclusion that has stolen countless hours of overtime pay,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Senior Attorney for legislative affairs Lisa Zucker. 

Calling the current 60-hour threshold a “racist Jim Crow policy,” Zuckler said Hochul and state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon must prevent another generation of workers from suffering by unequivocally accepting the Wage Board’s recommendation. 

The wage board held six hearings in 2020 to decide if the threshold should be lowered. But board members ended up recommending a pause in the process because of the pandemic.

Over 80% of farmworkers in the U.S. are immigrants, and 45% are undocumented. The majority of them are between the ages of their late 30s to early 60s, and often conduct their work under grueling conditions, putting their health and safety at risk.

Modifications to the law which sets overtime for farm workers at 60 hours will allow for improvements to their work conditions and job security, advocates say.


New York

New York basement apartments are still death traps threatening immigrants’ lives: Urban planners, passionate politicians, and charities have recommended inexpensive solutions, but lack of political will has killed those ideas. — New York Mag

Documented reporter talks about migrating families struggling to navigate shelter system: Amir Khafagy spoke with Open BrRx about covering the stories of newly arrived migrants in search of shelter in New York and why some families are turned away.  — Watch here

How to get a Green Card as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S.: Documented answered questions from Whatsapp community members, including how an undocumented immigrant can get a temporary or permanent lawful status. — Read here

Around the U.S. 

Chicago set up a website for people to donate, volunteer to help migrants: The city’s mayor is asking for help as Texas sends migrants to the city, and urged Gov. Abbott to collaborate on a more humane treatment of the immigrants. — Spectrum News 1

Afghan refugees find home in Michigan 1 year after evacuation: A couple originally from the Helmand province of Afghanistan share how they evacuated the country, moved to Michigan to settle in, and what’s next for them. — Detroit Free Press

Record number of first-generation immigrants in state legislatures: Of the naturalized citizens serving in state legislatures, 90% are Democrats. About 42% are Latino, 35% are AAPI and 15% are Black. — Axios

Memoir details Salvadoran poet’s immigration experience: Twenty years after crossing the border alone as a 9-year-old, the immigration journey that almost killed Javier Zamora still takes an emotional toll. — New York Times

Washington D.C.

Indiana farmers to U.S. senators: Pass immigration reform to stabilize farm costs, lower food prices:The dairy industry is lacking workers. If senators cannot agree on boosting the farm workforce by the end of the year, they’ll have to begin all over again in 2023. — WTHR

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