Government Affairs

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to not implement pesticide buffer zones around schools, parks, daycare centers or anywhere children might congregate was justified. The ruling was part of the Court’s decision to deny the petition filed by the Pesticide Action Network North America, United Farm Workers, and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste in 2009 requesting that the EPA impose interim buffer zones around schools to protect children from pesticide drift.

Stephanie Metzinger

With state legislators preparing to return to work in Sacramento on August 1, Western Growers urges members to schedule meetings with their state senator and assembly member to register their strong opposition to AB 1066, the California ag overtime bill. This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 1st.    

AB 1066 would repeal the 10-hour/day and 60-hour/week overtime threshold directly threatening the livelihood of farmworkers as it would compel farmers to reduce available work hours and could even threaten jobs.

Jeff Janas

Last week, a federal district judge in Sacramento dismissed a lawsuit brought by Gerawan Farming, Inc. and Fowler Packing Co. challenging “safe harbor” provisions that were part of piece-rate legislation (AB 1513) passed last year. Both companies were specifically excluded from taking advantage of provisions which provide an affirmative defense from claims for uncompensated or undercompensated nonproductive time and break periods.

Yesterday, the Senate Labor Committee passed AB 1066, a bill that would decrease the existing overtime threshold levels for California farmworkers. Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez resurrected the UFW-sponsored bill that was killed in the Assembly (formerly AB 2757) on June 3 of this year. The bill now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee. A hearing has been scheduled for August 1 when the legislature reconvenes following the summer recess period which begins tomorrow.

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