Nicole Rice

CMTA opposes repeal of overtime exemption for agricultural industry

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, May 6, 2016

Manufacturers that provide goods and services to California farmers could soon see reductions in product orders if AB 2757  (Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego) becomes law. This CMTA-opposed bill eliminates the 10-hour daily overtime exemption for agricultural employees thereby sharply increasing labor costs for farmers who, like manufacturers, need flexibility to respond to the often unpredictable cycles of nature and the seasonality of the industry.

Manufacturers partner with the agricultural industry to provide necessary goods such as packaging and corrugated containers that aid in the harvesting, storing and delivery of food items. Requiring premium pay after the eighth hour of the day could force farmers to find alternative ways to keep costs manageable to remain competitive, especially in the wake of the recent aggressive minimum wage increase. Any significant scale back in acreage production, for instance, would have a negative economic impact on those manufacturers that serve the agricultural industry.

Given the direct impact to the agricultural industry and the far-reaching commercial consequences of this proposal on other key industries within California’s economy, the Legislature should not apply greater restrictions to working hours of this critical, seasonal industry.

AB 2757 is one of several controversial bills currently before the Legislature. The bill awaits a vote by the Assembly Appropriations Committee where its passage is anticipated given that the chair is also the bill’s author.

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