As the state sat divided and waited for an outcome, the California Assembly voted to pass the farm worker overtime bill AB1066.
The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who spoke on the floor before the vote. “We know that the report…from USDA that includes quarterly reports, we know that farmers are reporting that the average work week is 42 to 44 hours in all government literature. That the individual worker is making about $16,500 per year. We know that it is much more complicated than that,” Gonzalez said. “I know in California that we are better than the polarizing discussion that this is. I know we will continue to be the leader in equality. We will continue to give a path for new Americans and have them treated like everybody else.”
Farm worker union groups gathered at the Capitol Building in Sacramento last week to show their support for the bill saying farm workers deserve overtime the same, they say, as everyone else. Many agriculture groups spoke out against the bill, saying it will ultimately lead to workers losing hours and making less money. The assembly’s vote was 44 for and 32 against. The new law will be phased in over four years.