Farmers and Farmworkers Applaud Governor’s Veto of Senate Bill 1121 (Florez)

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Governor Heeds Wishes of More than 10,000 Farmworkers Who Signed Petition Urging Veto of Overtime Measure

The governor clearly grasps that the unpredictable and seasonal nature of farming requires more flexibility in its labor laws.

An alliance of nearly 30 agricultural trade groups and an estimated 10,000 farm workers today welcomed Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of Senate Bill 1121 (Florez).

“We appreciate that the governor was able to look beyond the emotional rhetoric and focus on the true impact this measure would have had on farmers and their employees,” said Rich Matteis, administrator of the California Farm Bureau Federation, one of 27 agricultural and business groups that had urged the governor to veto the bill. “The governor clearly grasps that the unpredictable and seasonal nature of farming requires more flexibility in its labor laws.

“It’s important to remember that existing California law already provides overtime pay for farm employees. They qualify for overtime wages after 10 hours of work in a single day, 60 hours of work in a week, and for any hours worked on a seventh consecutive day. That existing law provides enough flexibility for both farmers and their employees to deal with the variability in farm work.”

In addition to the organizations against the bill, coalition officials said more than 10,000 California agricultural workers had signed a petition sent to the governor urging him to veto the bill because it would have reduced farmworker wages by more than 30 percent.

Coalition members opposed to SB 1121 include the following groups: Agricultural Council of California, Alliance of Western Milk Producers, Allied Grape Growers, California Association of Wheat Growers, California Association of Winegrape Growers, California Bean Shippers Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Citrus Mutual, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Grain & Feed Association, California Grape & Tree Fruit League, California Pear Growers Association, California Seed Association, California State Floral Association, California Warehouse Association, California Women for Agriculture, Grower Shipper Association of Central California, Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties, Family Winemakers of California, Nisei Farmers League, Pacific Coast Renderers Association, Pacific Egg & Poultry Association, Ventura County Agricultural Association, Western Growers, Western United Dairymen, Wine Institute.

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Stevan Allen

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