Throughout the country, farmworkers are required to be paid the minimum wage, however, they are not guaranteed overtime pay.
While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1938, the law only requires certain jobs to have overtime after eight hours of work.
This loophole from the Jim Crow era excluded farmworkers, maids, and domestic workers. To no surprise, these professions had the largest shares of black workers at the time. The law served as another way to exploit black workers while other workers saw gains in economic rights.
“By excluding farmworkers and domestic employees, about two-thirds of all black people were denied FLSA protections, leaving them without any guarantee of a minimum wage or extra pay for working extra hours. Huge shares of Latino, Asian-American, and Native American workers were also left out.”
The move to end this racist policy started with activism, and then led to state lawmakers passing a law that now gives the state’s 825,000-plus farmworkers overtime protection.
“History that has been 80 years in the making.”
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, which makes California the first state to ensure overtime protections for farmworkers.