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Sen. Harris introduces farm worker bill

Sen. Harris introduces farm worker bill

If passed, eligible workers would receive overtime pay

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A new piece of legislation could have implications for farm businesses.

Yesterday, California Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris reintroduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act. She first introduced the bill in June 2018.

The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and “require time-and-a-half overtime pay for all agricultural workers, with additional compliance time for small farms,” the legislation says.

Overtime would begin after 40 hours per week and apply to employees in several ag sectors including hand harvest laborers, and those involved in transportation and irrigation projects.

The bill’s rules wouldn’t apply to family farms where employees are immediate family members.

Requirements would be phased in over four years beginning in 2019. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would have three years to comply.

Implementing these rule changes creates a fair work environment for ag employees, Harris said.

“It is absolutely unconscionable that many farm workers – people who often work over 12 hours a day in the hot sun – do not receive overtime pay for the hard work they do to put food on the tables of American families,” she said in a statement yesterday.

More than 160 community organizations like the National Farm Worker Ministry and United Farm Workers support the bill.

“It is no longer acceptable in 2019 for any farm worker to be denied the right to overtime pay,” Teresa Romero, president of United Farm Workers, said in a statement yesterday. “No matter how long or hard he or she toils (and) no matter the bounty of food he or she produces.” has reached out to the American Farm Bureau Federation for comment.

Comments (5)

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Yeah l wish to see you all day in the sun working your but to see how it feels and think if you deserve a better pay or not just saying
Ferny Vazquez |Feb 10 2019 1:30AM
Agricultural workers should not be used as a pawn for the senator's run for President. She lost my attention when she and her white Dems didn't stand and were not interested in protecting our babies. Abortion and votes...that's all they really care about!
YVONNE |Feb 9 2019 6:11PM
Do you think that MS Harris action is driven by the fact that she is "running for President?" Do you think that her focus is really toward the welfare of those migrants that come to the USA to work in those hot climatic conditions, for long hours, of their own volition, or do you think that Ms Harris reintroduction of the bill is likely because she cares more about potential votes than the potential voters' welfare, legal or illegal? Hmmm?
David Johnson |Feb 9 2019 9:15AM
you are correct , if any one would like to work or own a farm that pays overtime pay ,he is pefrectly within in their right to quit working on my farm...and go work somewhere else.The government is not in the business to determine what I should pay my workers. The Senator has no idea , what any farmers or Ranchers pay in business expenses, Taxes, or any other risks involved in Agricultural Business. Senator , you and your democratic Cronies are more than welcome to come and work on my Ranch..Work in the business first.
Geno Clemans |Feb 9 2019 8:06AM
tell me how we pay our workers overtime when we are losing money every day with the low milk prices? get a farm bill or do something to get the milk price so we can make a living again, then we would be happy to pay them.
Kathy Michaels |Feb 9 2019 6:56AM