Thursday, July 8, 2010

Farmworker exemption from overtime wages called remnant of "rural Jim Crow"

California state Senator Dean Florez made that comment regarding a California law that excludes field workers from the requirement that those working more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours a week be paid overtime. Florez is pushing for a bill that would eliminate this exception to overtime pay and give farm workers the same benefits to which other wage earners are entitled.

The exemption dates to 1941, when California's farm workers probably did work in more truly rural settings than they now do. Today, rural and agriculture are hardly synonymous, especially not in California's densely populated and highly metropolitan Central Valley, home to most of the state's Big Ag. Still, some California farm workers are in nonmetropolitan places, such as Modoc County, population 9,449. The population density of Modoc County is just 2.4 persons per square mile, compared to 134.1 for Fresno County and 109.2 for Merced County.

Read full coverage about the proposed change to the law in the Sacramento Bee here.

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