Temporary restraining order placed on parts of new farm laborers legislation

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FILE – In this May 23, 2019, file photo, a farmer plants soybeans in a field in Springfield, Neb. China’s imports of soybeans surged in November following the announcement of an interim trade deal with the United States. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act just went into effect on Wednesday. However, due to a lawsuit filed by groups of dairy and vegetable farms, there is a temporary restraining order on certain parts of the law.

During the legislative session lawmakers approved new protections for farm laborers.

“The law is in effect for farm workers out there today, so the opportunity for overtime above 60 hours a week and to form collective bargaining units is in effect right now,” said Rick Zimmerman of the NYS Vegetable Growers Association.

On New Year’s Eve, a federal court judge put a temporary restraining order on certain aspects of the law.

Zimmerman continued by saying, “It is a very narrow order to hold the implementation of the law as it pertains to farm families and supervisors and other salaried employees on farms.”

Zimmerman said parts of the law conflict with the National Labor Relations Act, and he says it does not provide enough clarity.

“Farm families today consist of multiple generations, cousins, aunts and uncles, some farms have multiple families on farms and so the law is very unclear about the application of overtime and collective bargaining for this portion of the farm family workforce,” said Zimmerman

Zimmerman is also urging the legislature to make statutory amendments to the law. A court hearing will be held on the lawsuit January 24.

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