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  • California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation granting farm workers overtime pay.
    Updated On: Sep 15, 2016

    By Doug Cunningham

    [Arturo Rodriguez]: "It's a tremendous victory. We're extremely excited. When I received the word from the governor's office that he was gonna be signing it I - I was - sharing tears of joy."

    United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez. California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation granting farm workers overtime pay. Overtime pay will be phased in over several years along with a 40 hour workweek. Rodriguez says while there's  much more work to do to improve the lives of farm workers they are thrilled at this historic breakthrough.

    [Arturo Rodriguez]: "We have not been able to accomplish something that's so encompassing and so impactful for not only this generation of farmworkers but for generations to come. And in addition it rights a wrong that's been in existence now for almost eight decades.

    We are just thrilled that we have ben a part of this breakthrough for farm workers - this historic breakthrough - and look forward to now implementing it."

    Agricultural workers are excluded form the national Fair Labor Standards Act. Rodriguez says farmworkers are still a long way from achieving full justice in their working conditions.

    [Arturo Rodriguez]: "There's still the fight for farmworkers to be able to have union representation at their various companies. 


    We were able to establish this overtime law for farmworkers and get the governor's signature on it, but this is the only state in the United States where farmworkers have this right to have overtime after eight hours. Everywhere else farmworkers have to work whatever hours the employer dictates to them. Six days a week, seven days a week - I mean there's no provisions for them to be able to be able to have the same opportunities in getting overtime pay and getting a day off like other workers get.

    They don't have access to paid holidays or vacations or medical benefits or pension plans. So it's always a challenge in that particular way.

    In addition we're always trying to change the legislative arena and make it more favorable for farmworkers because of the fact that we've been excluded - as we were back in 1938 - from the Farm Labor Standards Act and almost any type of legislation that's been passed in our country.

     So in many states right now throughout the nation farmworkers are still not covered under minimum wage laws. They still don't have proper drinking water that's being provided to them. They don't have restrooms in  fields to utilize when they're out there working. Women are going around  and making a circle around each one of them so that they can protect themselves in that particular way .

    And then there's a lot of incidents of sexual harassment and abuse that takes place out there in the agricultural communities."

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