July 7, 2010
Farmworkers are the only hourly employees in the state who are not paid overtime after eight hours of labor in a standard 40-hour workweek, a special, discriminatory status that has endured for decades. Now California has an opportunity to right this wrong. State Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) has successfully shepherded a bill through the Legislature that would give those who do the backbreaking work of picking fruits, vegetables and nuts equal status with other workers. Opposition to the legislation, predictably, comes primarily from the farm lobby, which maintains that the current rule granting overtime only after 10 hours in one day or 60 hours in a week is all the industry can afford.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 |
GUADALUPE, Calif. - As a nearby tractor purred to life, Miguel Villagomez picked up his knife and stepped into a furrow of dirt amid thousands of plump heads of cauliflower ready for cutting. "This," the 19-year-old from Michoacán, Mexico, said with a touch of pride, "is my place. " For decades, the lush soil in this corner of California has been tilled largely by immigrants from Latin America, many returning year after year. But that long-standing relationship has encountered unexpected turbulence in recent weeks.
January 14, 2006
Re "UFW: A Broken Contract," four-part series, Jan. 11 I was disturbed by this series. I am the daughter of farmworkers from the San Joaquin Valley. I started my career working in the fields on my summer vacations and winter breaks. I know about the injustices that farmworkers faced. I also attended marches and the meetings that the United Farm Workers had with my parents. I experienced the unity, representations we needed and the courage and pride that Cesar Chavez brought to farm laborers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 2008 |
Shelley Davis, 56, who as deputy director of the advocacy group Farmworker Justice fought for the safety of workers, children and the environment, died of breast cancer Dec. 12 at Georgetown University Medical Center. A lawyer who lived in Silver Spring, Md., Davis represented migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families on issues from health and safety to wages. Nationally known for her skill in immigration, environmental, health and safety, agricultural and housing law, Davis expanded the usual array of demands made on public-interest lawyers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2012 |
STOCKTON - Sunburned, muddy and aching, Jose Hernandez was flopped in the back seat of the family's old Mercury with his brothers and sister when his father asked about their day in the fields, picking cucumbers. "Tiring," Hernandez, just a boy at the time, recalled answering. "My father said, 'Good! I'm not going to force you to go to school or get good grades or go to college. But if you don't, you know what your life is going to be like.'" It was a hard lesson from a father who spent years toiling in the fields of the Central Valley, migrating back and forth from Michoacán, Mexico.
July 29, 2010 |
Saying he didn't want to damage California's agricultural economy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday vetoed a first-in-the-nation bill that would have given farmworkers the same rights to overtime pay enjoyed by all other hourly workers in California. Applying the eight-hour day to agriculture would be burdensome to business and reverse longstanding labor practices, Schwarzenegger wrote in a veto message. As recently as 1999, state lawmakers approved a bill that specifically exempted farmworkers from the eight-hour day, he said, "recognizing that agricultural work is different from other industries: it is seasonal, subject to unpredictability of Mother Nature and requires the harvesting of perishable goods."