- Written by Carl Larson
The Ventura County Agricultural Association is reporting that it has been advised, through various sources, that the UFW may be filing Notices of Intent to take Access (Access Petitions) during the week of April 11, 2016, seeking access to many local farms. The apparent objective is to educate workers on AB 2757 which would, over a period of four years, starting January 1, 2017, reduce the daily number of hours for overtime involving agricultural workers and ultimately result in a 40-hour work week. The bill would also require one day off after working seven days of continuous employment.
The bill is still in the Assembly committee process and will have to be approved by the complete Assembly and Senate before being sent to the Governor for his signature. This is not an emergency bill and will not begin to take effect until January 1, 2017. At that time, daily overtime will be reduced to 9.5 hours from the current 10-hour threshold. It is expected that the UFW may attempt to get workers to sign a petition in support of AB 2757. Without a doubt, this will be used to demonstrate to Assembly legislators that workers within the agricultural industry are extremely supportive, notwithstanding the fact that it may reduce the amount of hours worked each week thereby reducing their paychecks.
- Written by Carl Larson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jams and juices will fill the shelves as fresh fruit and vegetables rot in the fields.
April 2, 2016 – A coalition of farmers led by California Farm Labor Contractor Fresh Harvest, Inc. is suing the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to get the agency to stop delaying the approval of agricultural worker visas and prevent the largest agricultural labor shortage in generations. The coalition seeks to force the government agency to comply with the mandatory timelines set forth in the H-2A visa program. If the government agency fails to act quickly to approve the farmer’s requests for skilled agricultural workers under the program, massive portions of the fresh fruit crop may rot on the vines, threatening an important part of the nation’s food supply.
Harvesting the fruit too late means most of the crop ends up as jams or juice which will mean much higher prices for consumers seeking fresh fruit. It also means huge losses for growers and farmworkers as overripe fruit fetches a much lower price on the market and much lower incentive payments for workers. Rotting fruit also does lasting damage to future yields as plants become more susceptible to disease, mold, and vermin which inhibit future production.