A bill moving through the California Legislature would require farm laborers to receive overtime pay when they work more than eight hours in a day. Current law allows them to work up to ten hours a day, six days a week, before companies must pay overtime.
The agriculture industry opposes the bill, which passed an Assembly committee Wedneday.
Brian White of Western United Dairymen says workers will receive fewer hours instead of overtime pay.
"We think this bill will hurt our workers, 50 percent which have already left the state due to excessive labor and economic challenges, including the price of milk, which we don't control," White said. "So, if this bill were to pass, we cannot pass that on to our consumers."
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez authored the bill.
"When my father came to this country, would he have worked 20 hours a day if you let him? Yes. Would he have worked for less than the minimum wage? Yes, he would," Gonzalez said. "But we are a state that's decided there are regulations to keep workers safe."
The bill next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Follow us for more stories like this
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.