United Farm Workers

 

Sign the pledge: CA farm workers deserve the same overtime as other workers

Farm workers toil for low wages hour after hour, often in extreme temperatures and dangerous conditions. Even worse, farm workers are some of the only workers in America that are not paid overtime after an eight-hour day or 40-hour week.  Sign the pledge to change this.

Back in 1938, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act set minimum wages and overtime for nearly all workers in the country. To win the votes needed to pass the legislation, President Roosevelt had to appease Southern lawmakers. He was forced to exempt farm and domestic workers – then mostly African Americans in the rural South. During the debate, one Florida congressman actually declared, “You cannot put the Negro and the white man on the same basis and get away with it ... This bill, like the anti-lynching bill, is another political goldbrick for the Negro.” Today, 78 years later, when farm workers are mainly Latino, this shameful legacy of racism and discrimination still infects our society.

California, the biggest agricultural employer in the nation, is one of a handful of states with any overtime protection at all for farm workers. However, these laborers only receive extra pay after working a grueling 10 hours a day.

The UFW is determined to right this wrong. That is why we are sponsoring AB 2757 “The Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016.” The bill was introduced on February 19 in California’s legislature and would gradually move toward paying California’s farm workers overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week by the year 2020.  

This isn’t the first time the UFW has led this battle. We’ve had two previous efforts to enact an eight-hour overtime law in California. The first passed the legislature in 2010, but was vetoed by then-Governor Schwarzenegger. The second lost by just a handful of votes in the Assembly in 2012. The new law would be phased in over four years in order to make it easier for employers to implement.

Excluding farm workers from overtime after eight hours was wrong in 1938. It’s wrong now. This deplorable caste system must end ... and it starts in California, which provides over half of America’s fresh produce and sets the pace for the entire nation.

Sign the pledge today and commit to standing with farm workers to ensure they get the same overtime rights as other California workers.