California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1066 into law on Sept. 12, expanding overtime for farmworkers. The California legislature passed the bill on a 44-32 vote.
Industry groups have released statements regarding the bill’s signing.
California Farm Bureau:
“We are extremely disappointed that this legislation was signed into law, as it will be harmful to farm employees, farmers, consumers and the environment. Those who work on California farms will see reduced paychecks and have their lives disrupted as these new worker overtime rules come into play. California consumers will have fewer opportunities to buy California-grown farm products that are produced under the most stringent food safety, employment and environmental rules in the world.
“Legislation such as AB 1066 only works if California consumers buy California farm products and opt not to buy cheaper food products from sources outside of California that do not meet the same labor and environmental stewardship standards that our farm products do.”
“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.”