Sacramento, Calif. – After essentially dying in the California Assembly on June 3 and a ‘gut and amend’ tactic to get the Phase-In Overtime Act of 2016 resurrected in the Senate, the measure found it’s way to Governor Brown’s desk this month. Today AB 1066 has become law with the Governor’s signing.
The law won’t take effect until 2019, but beginning that year in January the OT ceiling will be 9 and half hours and progressively drop to 8 hours by January 2022 with a 40 hour workweek as is mandated for most industries. The law also mandates one day off for every seven days worked.
California Ag interests had fought hard to keep lawmakers from backing AB 1066 and seemed to have been victorious in June. But when the bill’s author ‘gutted and amended’ her AB 1066 that was already in the Senate to reflect the language of the failed AB 2757, backers got the Senators to take up the overtime issue. AB 1066 cleared the Senate on a 24-14 vote and then the Assembly voted to pass the bill about a week later. Opponents also noted that the United Farm Workers, which supports roughly 1 percent of the workers this bill would affect pushed hard to pass the legislation.
Western Growers President & CEO Tom Nassif released the following statement in regards to the Governor’s signing of AB 1066, “The Governor has set in motion a chain of events that will cause workers in our fields to lose wages. It is one thing to dismiss the rationale for a seasonal industry to have a 10-hour overtime threshold rather than an eight-hour threshold. It is something entirely worse to dismiss economic reality. Our farmers compete with farmers in other states and countries with no overtime costs, far lower minimum wages, reliable water supplies and far less regulatory burden. California farmers will have no choice but to avoid even higher costs of production and they will utilize a number of strategies, including reducing work shifts and production of crops that require large numbers of employees. The box stores, grocery chains and restaurant companies that buy fresh produce can and will purchase from growers in other states and countries to keep prices down. They don’t care about the high costs of operating in California. Neither, apparently, do a majority of the California Legislature or the Governor.”
The bill’s author Lorena Gonzalez tweeted out her excitement of the Governor’s signing, Lorena Gonzalez @LorenaSGonzalez “Si se pudo! Farmworker overtime!!! We did it @UFWupdates! Thank you to the leadership in both houses & this Gov!”
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