California Farm Workers Demand New Labor Law
In June 2012, hundreds of farm from throughout the state of California gathered in Sacramento, Calif., to urge the state government to ensure they are paid overtime wages.
Existing law requires overtime pay for employees for hours worked in excess of a defined work day or work week, but farmers are exempt from the law’s coverage.
California Bill AB 1313 would remove the exemption. Since 36% of all farm in the U.S. and 44% of all farm who work in fruit/vegetable/horticultural crops work on California farms, the bill’s passage would affect a significant portion of the farm worker population.
Fatigue is a major contributor to farm worker injury on the job. This is because:
- The seasonal nature of much farming work requires long working hours during peak times of the year, such as at harvest time.
- A number of conditions affect the length of a farm day, such as weather, soil quality, livestock, and equipment functionality.
- Many farmers are undocumented, seasonal who are vulnerable to being exploited by their employers.
- More than 300,000 in the farm industry are over age 65, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A Canadian farm safety survey finds that 66% of farm work while they are tired.
United Farm Workers of America is leading the attempt to have the law, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), changed. It is the second time the union, which is the largest farm ’ union in the U.S., is making the attempt. The union previously tried to convince former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that farm should share the same over-time protection that applies to all other employees under the FLSA. The union is now making its appeal to Schwarzenneger’s successor, California Gov. Jerry Brown.
If you have suffered an injury due to a farm accident, if one of your family members has been injured or killed on the farm due to a farm accident, or if you have lost wages due to a farm accident, you may be entitled to compensation−including payments over and above Worker’s Compensation. For a free and totally confidential consultation, contact the Farm Injury Resource Center. No matter what state you live in, your employment status is or your nationality, we can help.