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President’s Message April 25, 2016

President's Message

Monday, April 25th 2016

CFFA President,

Welcome to the California Fresh Fruit Association’s website. We hope you find the information here valuable and we encourage you to contact us with any suggestions or questions.

The current legislative year in Sacramento is shaping up to be one of the most impactful in memory and, unfortunately, not in a good way. Earlier in the year, we heard Governor Brown explain how the state needed to be sure to live within its means and to not repeat the mistakes of earlier leaders who when faced with an improving economy immediately began ramping up spending programs. In addition, the Governor warned those contemplating a substantial minimum wage increase on what the costs would be to the state, that some people would lose their jobs and “how $15 an hour is different in Mendota as compared to L.A.” Once again we believed that the citizens of California were fortunate to have a Governor, while certainly not perfect, was nevertheless a backstop who acted as an adult many times in a room of spoiled children. However, despite his seeming understanding of the negative impact of a drastic minimum wage increase, we awoke on the Monday after Easter to hear the announcement that the Governor and labor leaders had reached agreement over the weekend on legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. What????? There was no discussion or conversations with business, let alone agriculture. Within days the bill flew through the Legislature on a party line basis and became law. As California agriculture looks toward the future, the question must be asked, how does this state compete against other states that have a $7.25 per hour minimum wage or countries like Mexico where good wages are $10 per day? Now, to add insult to injury, the Legislature is moving another bill to change the overtime rules for ag from over 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. Never mind that currently we are the only state with a daily limit on hours worked in ag and one of only four states with a weekly limit. The fact is that the minimum wage change along with the potential for a change in overtime has serious and far reaching implications for California agriculture. Technology and efficiencies in production are great equalizers but at some point a tipping point is reached whereby a majority of our domestic food supply that is grown in California is at real risk. We can only continue to alert our elected officials about the impacts of their actions and hope they get an understanding before it is too late. We look forward to representing our membership and working with other associations for the overall benefit of California agriculture. Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon. 

Thank you for visiting our site and we sincerely hope that you will visit again soon.