The 450,000 farm workers across the state help bring in more than $36 billion in revenue every year.
Overtime for farm workers is long overdue -- that's the message Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez of Shafter and the head of the United Farm workers Union will try to deliver to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today. They will also try to hand deliver a bill that would require farmers, growers and ranchers to pay agriculture workers overtime after eight hours on the job.
"Overtime after eight hours a day is long overdue for farm workers," said Arturo Rodriguez of the United Farm workers Union. "It is now 70 years after everyone else got it. That's long enough."
Currently, farm workers only get overtime pay after working 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week.
Agricultural employers had been exempt up to now. Some say that if the governor signs the law, they will work around it because they can't afford to pay.
"We'll run larger crews." Said farmer and Assemblyman Bill Berryhill of Ceres. "We'll adjust but the people this bill hurts are the very people it is intended to help."
When Schwarzenegger gets the bill, he can sign it or veto it. Otherwise, it will become law 12 days from today.