North Country Assembly Members To Vote 'No' On Farm Bill

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Neither Democrat Addie Russell nor Republican Ken Blankenbush supports the Farm Labor Fair Practices Act, which is due to be voted on this week in the state Assembly.

Among other things, the law would extend some collective bargaining rights to farm workers, mandate that they be given a full day off each week and require employers to pay overtime. Such measures are common in most industries.

Russell, of the 116th district, said she wants immigration reform first.

"We really haven't had a workable system, particularly for dairy farmers, and I think that should be our focus on policy before we dive into these other issues," she said.

"The agriculture business isn't like a manufacturing business where you can work 9 to 5," said Blankenbush, who represents the 117th district.

"You have to work when there's a growing season, you have to work when the cows need milking, so it's very hard to try to put farmers on that kind of a schedule," he said.

To read, see the other side of the debate, look here.
 

Friday, October 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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