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Californians overwhelmingly support legislation that provides enhanced farmworker protections and gives hazard pay to essential workers, according to a poll released by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

Hazard pay has become a hot issue in progressive cities throughout the state, with backers saying grocery workers have put their health at risk to serve customers as COVID-19 spreads. The California Grocers Assn., which says such measures are too costly for business owners to absorb, has challenged ordinances in court.

The Berkeley IGS poll released Tuesday found broad support for these measures, with 77% of all respondents saying they back legislation that gives hazard pay to front-line essential workers until they are able to receive vaccines. More than 70% of Black and Latino respondents strongly support these measures. Sixty-five percent of Native American, 58% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and 47% of white respondents strongly supported the measures. The poll found just 17% of all respondents opposed it.

The poll also found broad support for farmworker protections, including providing paid sick leave and medical benefits.

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