Friday, August 31, 2012
Local Democrats vote agains Farm Workers
AB 1313, by Assemblymember Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa), is United Farm Workers-sponsored bill to grant overtime pay for farm workers after eight hours a day or 40 hours a week just like any other California workers. AB 1313 needs a few more votes to make it off the state Assembly floor and go to Governor Jerry Brown's desk.
Both local Assemblyman Richard Pan, and Assemblywoman Alyson Huber voted against the bill. We have endorsed these Democrats in the past.
It has been 74 years since farm workers and domestic workers were left out of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the landmark federal law setting minimum wages and overtime for nearly all American workers.
To win votes from Southern lawmakers back in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was forced to exempt farm and domestic workers. Nearly all of those workers in the Southern U.S. then were African Americans. Today in California and across the country, most farm workers are Latinos.
The exclusion of farm workers from overtime after eight hours was wrong in 1938. It is wrong now. The time has come for it to end. California provides 80 percent of the nation's fresh produce and as a result its agricultural laws set the standard for the nation. Tell your Assemblymember to end this shameful legacy of racism in California by voting in favor of AB 1313.