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 Senator Harris Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Labor Protections for Farm Workers


As a Californian growing up and working on my family’s farm in Fresno, I am troubled by the lamentable conditions that our country’s farm workers continue to work under. Though the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed 80 years ago this week, provides basic protections for most workers, it is not guaranteed to all agricultural workers. It’s hard to believe, considering the grueling physical nature of agricultural workers’ day-to-day responsibilities, often resulting in nearly 100 injuries a day, that over 2 million workers are not given basic employment protections, only earn an average of $15,000 – $17,500 a year, and are often denied pay for their overtime labor.

These unjust practices cannot be allowed to continue. That is why, last week Senator Harris and her colleagues introduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act. 

Click here to watch Senator Harris speak about the Fairness for Farm Workers Act

This Act:

  • Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to grant overtime protections to all farm workers who work more than 40 hours a week, ensuring these workers receive time-and-a-half overtime pay.
    • Phases in this requirement over four years, with additional compliance time for small farms.
  • Eliminates most remaining exemptions to the minimum wage requirements for certain small farms, hand harvest laborers, non-local minors, and range livestock production.
  • Removes overtime exemptions for employees employed in irrigation projects, livestock auctions incidental to farm work, small country grain elevators, certain sugar processing, certain types of intra-state transportation and preparation for transportation of fruits and vegetables, cotton ginning, and cotton compressing.

Having been born and raised on my family’s farm, I understand how the lack of worker’s protections has endangered and burdened farmers around the country. With the support of United Farm Workers, Farmworker Justice, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we can secure for farm workers, the same fair, and basic worker protections that have been afforded to so many over the years. 

Here are some sample Tweets in English and Spanish that you can use to help spread the word: 

English: I stand with @senkamalaharris on her Fairness for Farm Workers Act. Farm workers deserve the same basic protections other workers have had for decades. Link to full text of bill here.

 Apoyo a @senkamalaharris en su Fairness for Farm Workers Act. Los trabajadores agrícolas merecen las mismas protecciones que otros trabajadores han tenido por décadas. Enlace con el texto completo del proyecto de ley aquí.  

English: Protections for agricultural workers are still not as strong as those for other workers. Help @senkamalaharris change that by supporting her Fairness for Farm Workers Act. Visit this page for more information.

 Las protecciones de los trabajadores agrícolas no son tan seguras como deberían ser. Ayuden @senkamalaharris a cambiar esto en dando su apoyo a su Fairness for Farm Workers Act. Visita esta página para mas información.  

It’s time to stand up for what is right and ensure that farm workers, farmers like my family and neighbors, are protected and treated fairly.


Matt Rogers
Central Valley District Director
U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris