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Farmers frustrated over proposed legislation that would make O.T. pay mandatory

Posted at 6:12 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 18:17:10-04

Sierra Ellis has always wanted to work on a farm.

“ It's just a new adventure every day. You never really know what's going to happen.”

The 21-year-old is a mechanic at Stein Farms in LeRoy. She works 50 hours a week for a flat rate.

“I asked if I get overtime for anything over 40 hours and they said no. But, I was happy to take the job.”

That's one reason why the farmworker is actually against the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act. The bill includes collective bargaining for farmworkers, and the ability to strike at any time. It also requires farms to pay workers overtime for more than 8-hour days and 40-hour week.

Dale Stein co-owns Stein Farms. He said farming is weather dependent. If it rains one week. Workers will eventually work extra to make up the difference. Stein said paying O.T. in those instances would cost his dairy farm roughly $120,000 a year.

“We don't have that money. it doesn't matter how much you want to do it. If you can't pay for it, we can't do it. we just don't have it.”

Justice for Farmworkers said it's not about the farm owners. It's about the workers and their dignity. That's why the group supports the legislation.

“We believe these workers have the rights that every other worker in the country has,” said Legislative Coordinator, Jose Chapa.

To read the legislation, click here.