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California Overtime Bill for Farm Workers Awaits Governor's Signature

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Sacramento, CAA bill that already passed through the California legislature and is awaiting the signature of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could drastically change California overtime laws for farm workers.

Currently more than 400,000 farm workers in California only receive time-and-a-half overtime pay if they work more than 10 hours a day, or 60 hours a week, according to the Sacramento Bee.

State Senator Dean Florez wanted to lower the overtime threshold for these workers to the traditional eight hours a day, or 40 hours a week, so he introduced Senate Bill 1121, which is currently waiting for Schwarzenegger's signature.

Many in the agriculture industry are fighting the bill, claiming that it would actually lead to less pay for farm workers because farmers would elect to cut the workers' hours rather than pay overtime.

"They're going to look at their crews and say, 'I'm sorry, it's just not worth paying more,'" Bryan Little, labor affairs director at the California Farm Bureau, told the news source.

Florez counters that the agriculture industry has always fought every attempt to increase the rights of farm laborers.

Some political analysts believe that Schwarzenegger may support the bill, as his in-laws, the Kennedys, were close with farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.

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