State and federal courts in California have recently held that piece-rate employees must be paid at least minimum wage for all non-piece rate activities, including those to which the piece rate doesn't apply. This is true even when employees receive, on balance, at least minimum wage for all hours worked. While agricultural employers have generally adjusted their compensation systems to comply with the changing legal landscape, many employers are in jeopardy due to the retroactive application of these court-ordered rules.

Jason Resnick

With temperatures across the state soaring well into the 90’s and with some areas possibly reaching 100 degrees, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) issued its first high heat warning of the year.  Cal/OSHA, the division of DIR that protects workers from health and safety hazards, issued the warning to employers as temperatures in both northern and southern California are expected to be 15-25 degrees above normal. The unseasonably high temperatures make the risk of serious injury from heat illness to outdoor workers, such as farm laborers, a serious threat.

Greg Nelson

With temperatures rising into the 90s in some areas of the state, workers could easily be affected by the heat in the fields.  A number of factors can help employees avoid heat illness such as access to cool, clean water; proper rest and shade; training for all supervisors and workers on heat illness symptoms and treatment - as well as making sure there is a heat illness program in place that includes emergency procedures for the treatment of any medical emergency.

Greg Nelson

Western Growers, joined by a coalition of California-based agricultural associations, filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal in support of Gerawan Farming Inc.’s petition for a writ of review.  The writ raises statutory and constitutional challenges to the Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation (“MMC”) statute, and asks the court to vacate the Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s (“ALRB”) orders which compelled Gerawan into MMC and which would impose a contract on Gerawan (and its workers) with UFW.

 

Jason Resnick

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Work Place Regulations

Labor shortages and work place regulations are critical issues for our industry and our employees.

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