California Farmworkers Could See Overtime Expanded After Historic Assembly Vote

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California State Capitol Building in Sacramento. (Credit: Clinton Steeds/flickr via Creative Commons)

In a historic win for farmworkers, California lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would expand overtime pay for more than 825,000 laborers who bring produce to stores and tables across the state.

AB 1066, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown after it was approved 44-32. The decision followed another intense showdown on the floor of the state Assembly, where a similar proposal died in June four votes short of the majority it needed to pass.

In the emotional debate, supporters of the bill framed the legislation as a matter of human rights and dignity of work, saying farmworkers deserved the same protections as the vast majority of workers.

Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside) called the vote an opportunity to correct a wrong against a subset of workers that would do more to honor Cesar Chavez than any ceremony, walk or statue.

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