September 12, 2016

Western Growers’ Statement on AB 1066 Being Signed into Law

After Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1066 (Gonzalez) into law today, Western Growers President & CEO Tom Nassif released the following statement:

“The Governor has set in motion a chain of events that will cause workers in our fields to lose wages.  It is one thing to dismiss the rationale for a seasonal industry to have a 10-hour overtime threshold rather than an eight-hour threshold.  It is something entirely worse to dismiss economic reality.  Our farmers compete with farmers in other states and countries with no overtime costs, far lower minimum wages, reliable water supplies and far less regulatory burden.  California farmers will have no choice but to avoid even higher costs of production and they will utilize a number of strategies, including reducing work shifts and production of crops that require large numbers of employees.  The box stores, grocery chains and restaurant companies that buy fresh produce can and will purchase from growers in other states and countries to keep prices down.  They don’t care about the high costs of operating in California.  Neither, apparently, do a majority of the California Legislature or the Governor.”