Kamala Harris Wants Farmworkers to Get Overtime and Minimum Wage Protections
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Monday introduced a bill that would extend overtime pay and minimum wage protections to agricultural workers. The new bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act which passed in 1938 and established a federal minimum wage floor and time-and-a-half pay for extra work. But farmworkers did not receive those protections when the initial legislation was passed. Farmworkers, as well as domestic help, were left out of the original legislation due to lobbying by those who wanted to keep farm labor -- most of it done, at the time, by African Americans -- as cheap as possible. Many of the original exclusions persist today and still disproportionately affect people of color, particularly Latino field workers. “This bill will attempt to correct some of the injustices they face and guarantee they will get paid for the hours they work including overtime, and minimum wage which right now they are not entitled to by law,” Harris said. “This is a matter of basic fairness and justice.” The bill has backing from more than one hundred labor and civil rights groups, and its co-sponsors include Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). More here.