Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), who is also a Central Valley cherry farmer, issued the following statement on his opposition to Assembly Bill 1066 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which would have the unintended consequence of cutting work hours for farmworkers by requiring overtime pay:
I have worked side-by-side with farmworkers in the fields my entire adult life. These are people I care about greatly. They are my friends. They’re family.
I believe I represent, in my Senate District, more farmworkers than just about anyone else in the Senate. This measure’s intention may be sincere and if that were the case, I would have supported it. Instead, the practical effects of this bill will do just the opposite.
Right now, many farmworkers put in more than eight hours per day during the peak of the season. If AB 1066 becomes law, many farmworkers’ hours will be reduced to 40 or less hours per week.
Their electricity bill isn’t going to go down. Their car payment and rent isn’t going to go down. But they are looking at losing one pay check per month that they used to get.
In my district, we still have double digit unemployment in farm towns, and AB 1066 will take money out of farmworkers’ checks.
AB 1066 is estimated to reduce farmworkers’ wages by $1.5 billion dollars, an average of $4,500 per farmworker.
For the sake of the farmworkers and their families, I voted ‘No’ on AB 1066.
AB 1066 passed out of the Senate on a 21 to 14 vote.