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President’s Message June 2016

President's Message

Friday, June 10th 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.

Previously we have written how the California Legislature persists in ignoring the warning signs from production agriculture in California as they continue to heap more and more regulations and costs on farmers. Recently the California State Assembly took up AB 2757, a bill from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego that would have changed when fieldworkers get paid overtime from 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. The proponents simply saw the issue as one of “equity” and quite frankly refused to see or understand the difference that weather and working out of doors makes to when one can actually work. There is clearly a misconception with many of our lawmakers that farmworkers are working 60 hours a week 52 weeks of the year. Of course, that is not the case but even when shown detail confirm that the average farmworker was working between 38 and 40 hours a week, supporters of the bill pushed ahead in spite of warnings that the real impact of adjusting agricultural overtime would be to reduce total yearly hours and therefore income for farmworkers. In addition, Assembly members were told of the unintended consequences of less unemployment compensation for workers during the year plus the potential for loss of eligibility for the Affordable Care Act due to some months having less than 130 hours worked. But nothing would stand in the way of supporters, who included the Speaker of the Assembly, as they continued to push forward with a vote on the Assembly floor the 2nd day of June. Then a funny thing happened on the way to getting the bill passed. A total of 8 Democrats joined together with all the Republicans to vote no and there were 6 Democrats who abstained. This left the final vote total at 38 for the measure with 35 against. Since 41 votes are needed for passage, the bill died. That action demonstrated that there are still members on both sides of the aisle who truly listen and evaluate issues. All of those Members should be commended for their action. The logical question that then must be asked is, “Is this the start of a trend of elected officials better understanding agriculture”? Unfortunately the answer is probably not. We may even see this same legislation reintroduced in the near future. However, it does show that when all of agriculture and its representatives pull together, our chances for success does increase and it is a model we must continue to follow in the future. 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.