#1 State Senate approves bill to extend overtime rules to farmworkers (CA)08-22-2012, 10:41 PM
SACRAMENTO ó The state Senate passed a bill Monday that seeks to eliminate a decades-old law that excludes agricultural workers from receiving overtime pay after working more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
AB 1313 would lower overtime pay eligibility for farm laborers from 10 hours of work in a single day to eight and from 60 hours in a week to 40. It also would require growers to provide laborers breaks to eat and rest during overtime work.
The Senate vote split along party lines 22-15, with most Democrats in support. Of the two senators who represent much of Ventura County, Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, joined with opponents, and Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, abstained.
"People are entitled to some period of recreation, rest and relief from the work that they do," Sen. Joe Simitian, D- Palo Alto, told the Senate before the vote. The bill's author, Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, said the measure provides the same protection for farmworkers as other farmers are entitled to.
The bill would erase a law excluding overtime compensation rights to farmworkers that was established in 1938 under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Along with establishing a federal minimum wage and prohibiting oppressive child labor, the act sets statutory minimum requirements for labor laws in all states
In 1941, the California Legislature chose to exempt all agricultural employees from the statutory requirements of overtime. Subsequently, by regulation, a provision was added granting farmworkers overtime after 10 hours in a day.
In 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill. In his veto message, he wrote that the change would add burdens on business, resulting in less employment and lower wages.
Opponents Monday echoed that sentiment, arguing that lowering overtime eligibility to eight hours would prompt growers to rely more on machinery than laborers to pick crops.
"Many folks come from out of the country. They want to get time in. They want to work," said Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Richvale. "When measures like this happen, then employees and companies respond to more machinery."
The bill is opposed by the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Western Growers Association, the Wine Institute and associations representing growers of crops such as pistachios to cotton.
The bill will go back to the Assembly for final approval before possibly being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The Assembly passed the original version 52-27 in June 2011. It must be acted on before the Legislature adjourns at the end of next week.
If the bill becomes law, Ventura County could be particularly susceptible to relying on mechanical farming, a trend already prevalent at some local farms, said Bill Watkins, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University. Watkins also thinks employers will find ways to prevent laborers from working 40 hours in a week.
"Because of the structure of the labor market in Ventura County, there's probably not going to be much benefit to the individual farmworkers," Watkins said
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/...#ixzz24Kit5pBp
08-22-2012, 11:50 PM
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
This is why we need to switch to a national sales tax and universal single payer. Then you can get paid by the bucket and it's up to you how much you work. If the labor department wants to be involved, they can pass a law which says that you have to be paid more for buckets over a baseline if they like.
I"m not for exploiting labor, but seasonal labor has to have special or different rules. You simply can't treat it the same way you do a retail clerk or Walmart employee.
08-23-2012, 03:50 AM
Seasonal work is tough. Some days you have to work more hours to make up for the days you can't be in the field due to rain, etc.
The consumer will end up paying the price, the farms will use more machines and less people will have jobs.
Most of these workers will just get their hours cut to 8 hours a day with a 40 hour limit...and these same workers are willing to work longer and harder then that....
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