News : Farmworkers push for overtime pay : Half Moon Bay Review newspaper, San Mateo county, Ca

HMB workers head to Sacramento to present overtime bill

By Amy Julia Harris

Fifty-one displaced workers from Nurserymen’s Exchange took up a new labor crusade last week, marching to Sacramento to hand-deliver a bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. The bill would extend time-and-a-half pay for farmworkers after eight hours a day and lift a decades-old overtime exemption for agriculture workers. Under existing law, overtime pay for farmworkers kicks in after 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week. Farmworkers are currently the only hourly employees in the state not to receive overtime pay after eight hours a day, 40 hours a week.

Schwarzenegger has 12 days to respond to the bill, which has already passed through the state Senate and Assembly. If signed, the new overtime law takes effect Jan. 1, and could spell big changes for some of the 329 farms in San Mateo County.