Yesterday, the California Assembly rejected a UFW-sponsored overtime bill by a final vote count of 38-35, with seven members abstaining. Western Growers helped lead a broad coalition of organizations from both agriculture and allied industries in the effort to stop the bill. We appreciate the engagement of our members in reaching out to their Assembly Members to urge a “No” vote on the floor. Your voice was heard.
Gonzalez’s bill would have repealed the longstanding 10-hour daily and weekly overtime requirements currently in place. The legislation would have incrementally decreased the existing overtime threshold until it reached eight (8) hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Combined with the state’s new minimum wage law, the Gonzalez overtime bill posed a serious threat to the ability of farmers to provide jobs and additional work hours for hardworking farmworkers. California already has one of the nation’s most progressive overtime requirements for farmworkers and is one of only a few states that provides overtime for farmworkers. Had it passed, the bill would have hurt the very people it was trying to help by compelling farmers to reduce the work hours now available to them.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein waded into the state legislative debate at the last minute to try and help buoy the bill when she sent a letter of support to the Assembly Speaker. Western Growers sent her a letter asking her to reconsider her position after detailing the substantial California-specific regulatory burdens that place our farmers at a competitive disadvantage nationally and globally.
For more information, contact Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435.