State Assembly Votes To Uphold Institutional Racism in the Labor Code

File Jun 05, 10 01 08 PMBy Sean Raycraft

A few months ago, a special session of the California state legislature was called for March 31, 2016 for two very special reasons. One, to pass a historic piece of legislation, a 15 dollar minimum wage, (the first such law for a state in the entire country) and two, to honor legendary United Farm Workers organizer and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez. When that day came, legislators fell over themselves with praise for Cesar Chavez. The adulation of Chavez was bi partisan. Legislators from both parties took turns speaking eloquently to the audience and members just what an amazing man he was, and how much the farm worker movement meant to them. Then they took a vote on a resolution honoring him and the farmworker movement. There was no opposition to the resolution. Then the legislature proceeded to pass a 15$ minimum wage, on Cesar Chavez day. As important as the 15$ minimum wage victory is to working people and the labor movement, the legislature seemingly came down with a severe case of amnesia a few months later when the time came to actually stand up for the farm worker movement.

On June 2, hundreds of farm workers came to Sacramento from all over the state to hopefully witness the passage of another historic bill. Assembly bill 2757 would have extended overtime protections to farm workers. They were sorely disappointed when right in front of them, the bill died on the assembly floor with a vote of 38 in favor and 35 opposed and 7 abstaining or absent. I am writing this piece because I am incensed with the assembly members who voted no on this bill. They all voted to honor Cesar Chavez and the movement of farm workers that he led. When it came time to really protect and honor farm workers as full citizens of this state, those assembly members chose to forget their fawning praise for the farm worker movement in a spontaneous collective fit of amnesia. All sarcasm aside, our very own assembly member, Bill Dodd, voted against this law and farm workers. As did Sacramento area democrats Jim Cooper of Elk Grove and Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova.

Truckers, office workers and grocery clerks are all covered by overtime protections under California law. As far as I know, farm workers are the only classification of workers that I am aware of that are specifically exempted from overtime protections. This exemption from overtime exemptions is a racist relic that, somehow, we as Californians have allowed to continue for far too long. There is something morally abhorrent about legislators voting to deny these basic human rights to farm workers. Legislators sit in comfortable chairs, in air conditioning, and are paid well for their time. Conversely, farm workers do back breaking, labor intensive work, outside, in the 100 degree heat, for minimum wage, ten hours a day, six days a week! That of course assumes the growers are actually complying with the existing labor laws and not stealing wages for hours worked. It’s a classic example of institutional racism, and the legislature just voted to uphold that racist status quo.

Before I get bombarded in the comments section about the definition of institutional racism, just ask yourself this question. “What kind of a person is a farm worker?” Farm workers are almost universally people of color, many are undocumented, and unfortunately many are minors. Therefore, an exemption in labor law protections that do not extend to a class of workers that are nearly universally people of color and immigrants is institutional racism. The same thing could be said about domestic workers in the new deal programs. One does not see many white faces picking crops in California today. Meanwhile, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters think these farmworkers are somehow destroying America by coming here and doing difficult work that no one else will do.

So what do our various candidates for the state legislature think? We obviously know what Bill Dodd thinks, as he voted against farm workers. Bill Dodd’s primary opponent, former assembly district 4 representative Mariko Yamada has recently made many public statements of support on social media for the farm workers, and has expressed disappointment that the bill did not advance. She wrote “I am on the record 5 years ago supporting AB 1313 (Allen) during the 2011-2012 legislative session for farmworker overtime. Regrettably, AB 1313 also did not pass. Farmworkers and domestic workers were excluded from overtime protections in the 1935 NLRA. (national labor relations act) Its long past time these racist injustices are eliminated!” County Supervisor and candidate for Assembly district 4 Don Saylor also came out strongly for this bill on social media writing, “Let me be clear. My vote on AB 2757 would be YES. Why should farm workers not be paid for overtime under the same rules as any other worker?” Winters mayor and assembly district 4 candidate Cecilia Aguiar-Curry provided the following position statement when asked:

“Its important that people understand the Ag sector. Farming demands unique requirements. I have concerns about redefining the current overtime provisions in the labor code on the heels of the new 15$ minimum wage requirement which phases in by 2020. I think it is prudent to take a go slow approach in order to assess the financial impacts on farmers and consumers before adding additional costs to production agriculture. I am open to changing the overtime rules in the future AFTER the effects of increased labor costs due to the new minimum wage are better understood.”

Dan Wolk and Gabe Griess did not immediately respond to my inquiries about this bill.

I am hopeful that one day as Californians, we will end this injustice. The next time you sit down for a nice meal, please consider the difficulties faced by the people who help get those fruits and vegetables to your plate. Somewhere, not too long ago, a farmworker picked that strawberry, or broccoli head in the sweltering, 100 degree heat. That farm worker is a person, deserving of all the same rights as any other worker. Overtime rules are meant to protect the dignity of life for working people. Why should the people who toil in the heat not be given the same dignity as the people who work in your office? Or your store? In your classroom or anywhere else? It’s a question of basic human rights. Like the civil rights leader Cesar Chavez said, “The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It’s about people.” Please remember that when casting your votes on Tuesday.

Sean Raycraft is a lifelong Davis resident, and proud shop steward with UFCW 8 Golden State

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Tia Will


    Thanks for the article and most particularly for the breakdown of candidate positions. For me it is unthinkable that we would single out one group of workers to not offer the same protections as provided to others.

  2. Biddlin

    My first paying job in California was cutting lettuce in Salinas. My hands, knees and back start to ache, just at the memory. My wife, children and I are ever thankful to and for those who grow our food.


  3. South of Davis

    Shawn wrote:

    > This exemption from overtime exemptions is a racist relic that somehow,

    > we as Californians have allowed to continue for far too long.

    Tia can correct me if I am wrong but I have been told that MDs in California do not get overtime.  Since it has been years since the majority of new MDs were white males is exempting MDs from overtime also “racist” (and/or “sexist”)?

    > Somewhere, not too long ago, a farmworker picked that strawberry,

    > or broccoli head in the sweltering, 100 degree heat.

    I’ve harvested strawberries, broccoli and grapes along side farmworkers over the years.

    While it is common to pick strawberries and grapes in 100 degree heat I’m pretty sure that no one has ever harvested broccoli in “100 degree heat” in the winter (or even the early days of Spring when the last broccoli is harvested for the year).

    1. hpierce

      Many professions, where one is truly “salaried”, and not paid by the hour, are exempt from FLSA, and may or may not get overtime, unless the employer CHOOSES to pay overtime…  Engineers, MD’s, etc., fit into such employee classes, as do many Management positions.

    2. Tia Will

      South of Davis

      Tia can correct me if I am wrong but I have been told that MDs in California do not get overtime.  Since it has been years since the majority of new MDs were white males is exempting MDs from overtime also “racist” (and/or “sexist”)?”

      MD’s do not get overtime in any system of which I am aware in California. However, MD compensation is not in anyway comparable to farmworker compensation. MD pay is maintained at high levels by deliberately limiting the number of positions available in both medical school and residences. This is certainly not  true of farmworkers. I do not understand the point of your post at all since the mechanism of manipulation of compensation is completely different.

  4. wdf1

    Raycraft:  On June 2, hundreds of farm workers came to Sacramento from all over the state to hopefully witness the passage of another historic bill. Assembly bill 2757 would have extended overtime protections to farm workers. They were sorely disappointed when right in front of them, the bill died on the assembly floor with a vote of 38 in favor and 35 opposed and 7 abstaining or absent.

    How does a bill not pass when 38 vote in favor and 35 vote against?  Is there some context missing?

      1. Matt Williams

        A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, and in my past role as Chair of a Yolo County General Plan Advisory Committee we had to actively deal with how abstentions and absences are dealt with under Robert’s Rules of Order. So, based on that I will venture forth with the following “dangerous” thoughts.

        In Robert’s Rules the voting process has two steps in a “regular” vote.

        First, a quorum call is made (usually informally, but sometimes formally). Quorum is 50% plus 1 of the non-vacant seats.

        Once quorum is established, then the vote passes or fails based on 50% plus 1 of the number of voting members who were marked present in the quorum count.  A voting member can leave the chamber, and as long as that does not put the voting body below the 50% plus 1 of the non-vacant seats quorum requirement, then the number of voting members for the purposes of the vote is reduced by one for every “temporarily” missing member.

        For example, with a 100 person body a quorum is established when 51 members are present.

        If, for example, 60 members are present, a quorum is established, and a vote succeeds if it gets 31 or more Yes votes.  If one member leaves the chamber prior to the vote, then the 59 members still present continues to satisfy the quorum requirement, and the number of votes needed for passage decreases from 31 to 30.

        In Robert’s Rules an abstention is treated the same way as leaving the chamber is treated, so in the example above,  a vote of 30 – 29 – 1 passes because 30 is 50% (29) plus 1.  With that said, individual jurisdictions have established “local rules” when it comes to dealing with abstentions, with some of those local rules treating an abstention the same as a No.

        Looking at the 38 – 35 vote, I cant help but wonder if it was a “cloture” vote that was for the purposes of “calling the question” to a final vote.  In many jurisdictions those kind of “non-regular” votes require a “super majority.”  In the US Senate the super majority threshold is 60%.  In other jurisdictions it can go as high as 2/3 of the non-vacant seat count.

        1. Eric Gelber

          Matt –

          You are right–a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. In the California Legislature, passage of most bills requires a majority of the membership–21 votes in the Senate, 41 votes in the Assembly. Urgency measures and appropriations bills require a two-thirds vote–27 votes in the Senate, 54 votes in the Assembly.

        2. Matt Williams

          Eric, thank you for providing that clarification of the “local rules” that California has adopted to adjust Robert’s Rules to match California’s needs.

  5. Don Shor

    Currently farmworkers are paid overtime after 10 hours per day, or 55 hours per week. The law would have phased in 8-hour overtime in half-hour increments, and 40-hour work week in 5-hour increments, by 2020.

  6. Topcat

    Farm workers are almost universally people of color, many are undocumented, and unfortunately many are minors.

    Isn’t it against the law for employers to employ illegal aliens as well as minors?

    1. Justice4All

      Minors can work with a permit. I think the minor in question has to be 15, and that rule is often broken with the migrant labor force. Yes, technically I think it is illegal to hire the undocumented workers, but I am not 100 percent on that.

      1. quielo

        So we have laws against hiring minors, and laws against hiring people without authorization to work, yet the author thinks what we need do is pass more laws? Parenthetically there are many in-status visitors/immigrants to the US who do not have legal authority to work in this country including students and tourists.


        Why not enforce the current laws before adding new ones?


        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          Exactly . This matter is similar to the protecting people of color from pollution by the newest State of California Assembly’s pseudo and meaningless Bills: AB 1288 & AB 1071. Bills  were authored by Speaker Emeritus Tony Atkins and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The bills are a form of socialist propaganda and agenda and are an unnecessary cost and burden for California taxpayers.

        2. Tia Will


          Why not enforce the current laws before adding new ones?”

          If the current laws clearly do not protect all workers equally, that in and of itself is reason for a change in the law. For me, this is not about race, it is about equal protection under the law. Or do you believe that certain types of workers should not have the same protections as others ?

        3. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > If the current laws clearly do not protect all workers equally, that in

          > and of itself is reason for a change in the law.

          The reason bosses don’t need to treat legal unskilled labor very well is because there is a glut of illegal workers in CA who will put up with just about anything for a job.  If we started putting rich Republican farmers in jail that are caught exploiting illegal workers things would get a lot better for ALL legal workers.

          P.S. The minimum wage in Mexico is less than $0.50/hour (for an 8 hour day at current exchange rates).  What if the Minimum wage in Canada was $200/hour (20x higher than us like we are 20x higher than Mexico)?  Do you think we would have a lot of young hard working guys American sneaking across the border (you bet we would), do you think they would care if they made less than “minimum wage” like $150 and hour or only 15x the CA minimum wage (you bet they wouldn’t)…

        4. quielo



          The assertion was made that minors were often working in contravention of our existing labor laws. I addition an assertion was made that many of the harvesters lacked legal standing to be employed in the US. My question was why aren’t the existing laws against these practices being enforced?

      2. Topcat

        Why not enforce the current laws before adding new ones?

        Yes, perhaps the focus should be on enforcing current laws.  And along those lines, I would assume that Mr. Raycraft would support expedited deportation of illegal aliens as that would tend to raise wages.

        1. The Pugilist

          The better solution would be to unionize all farm workers.  That would solve all of the problems – it would raise the standard of living, it would diminish the incentive for corporations to hire undocumented workers.

          1. Don Shor

            That would enable them to be exempted so long as their pay is high enough.

            Employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions, and if the agreement provides premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked and a regular hourly rate of pay for those employees of not less than 30% more than the state minimum wage.


        2. Frankly

          It might accelerate the pace of automation, but it isn’t the main cause.

          Sometimes I wonder if you are really in business for yourself.

          Farming automation is exploding.  With sensor and robotic technology advancing every day, every additional dollar you add to the cost of manual labor… more of that labor will be automated.

          And since smaller farms will not be able to afford the labor nor the automation, increasing the cost of labor from government mandates will put more small operators out of business.

          Your ideology conflicts with business facts.

          1. Don Shor

            I don’t have an “ideology” on this issue, and you know where to find my business. So your rhetoric is, as usual, off the mark.
            I don’t think the marginal cost of labor increase by paying overtime is going to be the main determinant of whether a particular crop goes to automated harvest. Some crops lend themselves to harvest technology, others don’t. If they do, it’ll happen. Maybe it’ll happen very slightly faster because of having to pay overtime for an 8-hour day instead of for a 10-hour day.

        3. Frankly

          You know what?  I say raise the wages of farm workers.  Have government mandate overtime pay.  Have government then demand that farm workers get benefits.  Make farm labor more expensive.

          Then we will encourage more farmers to automate.

          And it we should see a slow-down in the flow of immigrants that tend to vote Democrat for several generations.

          And more big tech business that make the automation will help the GOP.

          Works for me.

          1. Don Shor

            Mechanization of farm harvest labor will occur rapidly if there is a shortage of labor. Incremental cost of labor increase will not be anywhere near the same kind of factor. It was the loss of inexpensive labor with the end of the bracero program that spurred much of the mechanization of farm labor in the 1960’s. The crops that can be mechanized readily largely have been. There are serious hurdles to mechanizing many of the remaining crops, largely having to do with mechanical damage to the fruit, the non-selective nature of the machinery, the very high capital investment cost to the farmer, and the lack of flexibility that it creates in selecting which crops to grow.
            But if something is done that seriously restricts the number of workers available, you will see mechanization move forward and you will see farmers switch crops. Compared to paying them overtime for eight-hour days instead of ten-hour days, labor availability is a much larger factor. Not to mention trade agreements.

        4. wdf1

          Don Shor:   It was the loss of inexpensive labor with the end of the bracero program that spurred much of the mechanization of farm labor in the 1960’s. 

          That is true.  In the Davis area, growers were recruiting local youth as young as 12 years old and any available adult to pick tomatoes for the 1965 harvest.  Over the summer they were trained at the high school in Davis.  They never could get enough workers.

          Farmers were wishing to have that immigrant labor force back again.

  7. quielo

    Cab drivers and many others who, like farm workers, are paid on production do not receive overtime. Maybe the author should educate himself before pontificating.

    1. Justice4All

      Independent contractors who are cab drivers are different true. But farm workers typically are hourly employees. The point of the article is that they SHOULD be getting the same overtime protections we provide for other similar workers.

        1. Justice4All

          I find it interesting you used this comparison

          “That would really depend on how you define “similar”. Are they more like crossing guards or more like Uber drivers?”

          Uber drivers were recently ruled to be employees of Uber in a recent California ruling. This is all part of a larger conversation, regarding the gig economy, the future of labor, work, etc that is probably too complicated for the comments thread of the Vanguard. But suffice it to say the nature of work is changing, and not always for the better.

      1. South of Davis

        Sean wrote:

        > The point of the article is that they SHOULD be getting

        > the same overtime protections we provide for other

        > similar workers

        The guys that I have picked grapes with in prime Napa vineyards were paid more if they harvested more grapes and less if they harvested less grapes.  The best guys were able to harvest almost 10x more grapes than me (they were like Ninja masters attacking the vines).  I’m wondering if Sean feels that it is not “fair” to pay the skilled guys that work hard $500/day when the unskilled guys that don’t work as hard only get $50/day?

        I know that Sean thinks that everyone “SHOULD” get overtime, but I’m wondering if knows what all the people “should” do when they price themselves out of the market and are replaced by machines.  In 1976 (as Cesar Chevez was working to get collective bargaining for farmworkers) the “Paris Tasting” let the world know that California was one of the best places in the world to grow wine grapes.  In 1976 less than 10% of CA grapes were harvested by machine.  Today close to 90% of CA wine grapes are harvested by machine.

        P.S. To Sean do you think that “Tally” in the link below will pay union dues to UFCW?

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis

          A UBI would take care of the entire issue and then we could all stop arguing about it. One will eventually be needed in any event if we keep automating to the point where virtually no one who doesn’t work almost exclusively with their brain doesn’t have a job.

        2. Justice4All

          SoD I am not someone who irrationally fears automation. That robot is nothing more than a tool for a worker to use, like a check stand, or an order gun, or a computer for handling invoices. Automation will always happen, and Im not scared of it. Wise people should see the benefits to society of having those tools of automation to society as a whole.

  8. Marina Kalugin

    This is happening because DODO is on the Assembly instead of Mariko.

    Vote MARIKO and, if you already voted, I believe there is a way to get your ballot back and revote..

    Not positive, but there USED to be a way..



      1. Marina Kalugin

        I KNOW that pugi…she did a great job for THREE terms…

        and the Dodo didn’t even stay a few months when he decided to go after the same Senate job that she was after….

        I am pretty sure that if you vote absentee then you could get the ballot back if not counted yet….

        call the county registrar…

        one can even get a new ballot if they “messed up ” and marked the wrong box…

        THIS is in the USA>>>>>




        1. hpierce

          Only if the ballot is surrendered before it is “voted”… before it is signed and mailed or delivered as a vote.  There is a good reason for that… what would stop you from retrieving my vote by mail ballot, saying it was voted incorrectly?

  9. Jerry Waszczuk

    In this matter I wrote to UC Office of the President Principal Investigator Judith Rosenberg on October 2, 2013
    Besides the fear, anxiety, stress, and humiliation some members of this UC Davis self-assembled terrorist group caused, my wife and I incurred financial ruin through the termination of my employment. I lost my house, my income, benefits and my position, which was guaranteed to me by the February 2009 Settlement-Agreement signed with the UC Regents.
     From studying history, I know of the Rosenberg’s, and I would like to remember you as one of Rosenberg’s who did something good within the University of California for workers that have become the target of abuse, harassment, vicious malice, and retaliation and oppression because they have the courage to speak out.
     As a former political prisoner under the most oppressive system in history, and as a human rights activist in communist Poland, I would like to remember you as people remember Mr. Max Rosenberg, a San Francisco businessman and philanthropist who died in 1931.
     Today, the Rosenberg Foundation’s current program priorities are: justice for farm workers, immigrant rights, and integration, justice, and public safety. It also makes select grants in the areas of accountable development, civil rights, and civic participation, and participates in effective philanthropy and nonprofit advocacy.
     I do not want you remember you as one of the Rosenberg’s that, on behalf of the University of California, defended  Daniluc from the UC Davis HVAC shop who, besides his activities which violate UC policies, compares farm workers to cockroaches in his e-mail dated December 9, 2009:
    “From: dorin daniliuc [mailto:dnchvac©]
    Subject: California Poll
    Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 17:46:02 -0800
    Too many [cucarachas] in California. Stay away from Mexicans.”
     I would appreciate if you would schedule another meeting with more time to discuss the case  from the beginning to the end .
     Jaroslaw Waszczuk
     c.c.: Wendi Delmendo, Sheryl Vacca, Joseph Epperson, UC Regents, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, UCDMC HR, Mike Boyd, Charles Witcher.
     Many of  the American  noble democrats are  not different than hardcore communists.

    1. hpierce

      I’m a pollworker… have been for ~ 20+ years… every election except one in that interval (was recuperting from surgery)… if we’re not too busy tomorrow, I’ll bring it up with the roving inspector.  Today and tomorrow elections staff will be “up to their eyeballs” (much more than your ‘meetings’), so I wouldn’t dream of taking their time until the election is over.

      Feel free to contact them yourself NEXT week, when they should have this election pretty much complete.

  10. Jerry Waszczuk

    Why Sean Raycraft wrote this aritcle  at all ? His buddies democrats  who are controlling the California legislature are to blame for  upholding the  institutional racism and social apartheid in State of California. This article shows  the real Dems  face and color of  their ideology.


    1. The Pugilist

      He wrote because an issue he believes in fell short and there isn’t consensus within the Democratic party on it.  Just as a Democrat killed police reform a week ago.

      1. Jerry Waszczuk

        He should not affiliate himself with Dems . He is one of them . Why he is whining ? Total hypocrite .


        [moderator] No name-calling, please.

        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          Is no names here . What you referring to? Please advise  Mr. Moderator


          [moderator] Please don’t call people hypocrites or state that they are whining.

        2. Jerry Waszczuk

          Come on !  Hypocrite is not offensive  name but common term used everywhere . Don’t get yourself into spin of censorship and respect the freedom of expression of others . This  is ridiculous.

        3. South of Davis

          Jerry wrote:

          > Come on !  Hypocrite is not offensive

          It is only “not offensive” if used to point out the inconsistent views of someone right of center.  The term is considered “offensive” by the Vanguard if used to point the inconsistent views of anyone left of center…

        4. Justice4All

          Every republican voted against the bill. What does that say about their values? Until very recently, I was not a Democrat. (I registered dem, so I could vote for Sanders) I wrote this article because I was angry about people who are extraordinarily privileged denying basic dignity to people who bust their butts, doing backbreaking labor for not very much money at all. The people who make these decisions work in air conditioning, sit down most of the day, wear expensive clothes and have a staff (and great healthcare). There is something infuriating about that, hence the article.

        5. Barack Palin

          [moderator] Please don’t call people hypocrites or state that they are whining.

          Really?  The Vanguard taboo word list is getting very lengthy.

  11. Frankly

    As Biddlin always reminds me, I am not that smart nor that well-educated.  I was a B-average student in grade school.  I have only a 4-year degree.

    But I have been working since I was 12.  At age 13-17 I worked on farms and ranches.  I worked 6-weeks of my summer vacation in fruit orchards.

    A few things come to my work-experienced, but meager and moderately-educated mind when reading stuff like this related to social justice crusaders advocating for their low-wage worker victims:

    1. No matter how lofty their academic credentials, these social justice crusaders certainly skipped any classes on economics.

    2. They most likely have never needed a job doing the work of the people they claim to represent.

    3. They do more harm than good for the very people they claim to represent by filtering on harm or fairness from their highly privileged perch and not from the position of someone lacking similar privilege and needing a job.

    One thing I would check… do any of these social justice crusaders have interest in farm labor automation business?  Because that would certainly explain their motivation to keep pushing to raise the cost of the human labor equivalent.

    1. Justice4All

      I find it funny that you think I am some kind of academic elite/social justice warrior. I work at a grocery store, doing largely manual labor, at night. I have experienced poverty, and have needed that job of the people I represent (Im a shop steward). What privilege do I have Frankly? Im literally advocating for people who I work with every day. How exactly is that preaching from up high?

      Those farm workers who came to the capitol are part of a union. They want these overtime protections to improve their quality of life. Are they social justice crusaders too?

      1. quielo

        Of course you understand that the people who would pay the most for increased food prices will be the poor? Poor people eat more than rich people and the food they eat has a higher percentage value of farm labor. The farmers will not make less money because people will pay what they need pay for food. So who do you think will ultimately pay for your scheme?

      2. South of Davis

        Sean wrote:

        > I have experienced poverty

        I’m wondering if you have experienced true poverty (like the kids from the double rock housing projects I used to tutor)…

        If my wife was playing golf with your Mom at the Country Club I wonder if she would say that any of her kids “have experienced poverty”…

        1. Justice4All

          Presumptions of my life history aside SoD, my family has not always had the kind of wealth that permits membership to a country club. In my early twenties, my family did not have the kinds of resources they have now. I was on my own, making 8.50 an hour in Davis, and occasionally I had to do things like skip meals, go to work sick, walk to work because I could not afford to buy gas. Those kinds of things. Its true I had a middle class life when I was growing up in a nice town. But not everything is as it seems all of the time my friend. I was conservative then, like you. I didnt understand what struggling was until I actually had to figure out how to make things work on my own. I know what its like to face eviction, to not know where your meals are coming from, to know the indignity of having to beg the power company not to turn off your power, then having them shut it off anyway. Its damn expensive being poor. It consumes you. Its with you wherever you go. Your life is made small, into pay periods and counting pennies, and the crushing anxiety of fearing getting sick, or having a sudden expense like a car repair. It leaves little to allow for the things that make life meaningful, like the advocacy that I do now. Its certainly true that I do not live in poverty now, but some of my co workers do. Many of the customers I serve late at night live in poverty.

          Some come in late at night because they are scared there isnt enough money in their accounts to buy food, and do not want to have to go through the indignity of holding up the line at the check stand while they desperately try to make their debit card work, while people in line stare and judge them. Or they get off work from their fast food job, and they do their budget right in the check stand, and ask for items to be taken off because the end of the month is near, and they just cant afford that toothpaste.

          I cant say that I experienced the kind of poverty that you have seen, because I havent. But I know what it is like to live anxiously. The difference between you and I SoD is that I am trying to do something about it because I believe that all people deserve dignity, and I wonder if you do. The people who cook your food, watch your children, mow your lawn, and yes pick crops should not be seen as lesser people just because they are poor. They are not invisible people, even though our society often treats them as such. The farm workers overtime problem is a great example of invisible people. You never see them, so its ok to deny them full citizenship. Make sense?

        2. South of Davis

          Sean wrote:

          > Presumptions of my life history aside SoD 

          > But not everything is as it seems all of the

          > time my friend. I was conservative then, like you.

          You may “presume” I’m “conservative”, but ask a few people at the next union meeting if they would describe a guy who voted for Obama (and been on the campaign staff of CA politicians to the left of Obama), that is pro-choice (on everything), wants to reduce military spending/wars (and close Gitmo), and wants to legalize drugs (except meth) if they think I’m “conservative”…

          > I was on my own, making 8.50 an hour in Davis,

          > and occasionally I had to do things like skip meals,

          > go to work sick, walk to work because I could not

          > afford to buy gas.

          I was on my own making $3.35/hr and would skip lunch (when I was rushing out and forgot to bring a $0.59/Cup-o-noodles to work with me).  But I did not “have” to skip meals (and did not consider myself living in “poverty”) since I skipped meals out of pride knowing that with my collection of friends, co-workers and people I volunteered with I had a lot of people who would give me food if I really needed it and asked for it.

          > Your life is made small, into pay periods and counting

          > pennies, and the crushing anxiety of fearing getting

          > sick, or having a sudden expense like a car repair.

          The simple solution is to put your head down and figure out 1. How to reduce expenses and 2. How to increase income. (I wish there was an easy way and I did not have to live in so many crappy places while working so many long hours and weekends over the years)…

          > They are not invisible people, even though our

          > society often treats them as such. The farm workers

          >overtime problem

          If you really want to help people you would make it easier for people to to get jobs.  It is sad that today I can’t just hire a young kid to paint my house since you need to have a “contractors license” to do any job over $500 in California.  My brother in-laws family started farming in the Salinas Valley in the late 1800’s and treated everyone that worked for them very well, but due to the increasing laws/regulations/etc. over 100 years it is just too hard for anyone but the big corporate farms to follow all of them and make a profit so they now lease their land (to corporate farmers that treat the employees like crap).  The little grocery store I worked for treated everyone like family (The owner of the store bought everyone that wanted to come in early on Saturday a nice breakfast as the diner on the corner before we started work).  In the late 70’s and early 80’s people looked the other way if you were paying a bag boy $3/hr cash, but today we are going to a horrible corporate model where the Super Wal Mart who does not give a crap about workers is where most people will get food (the rich will go to Whole Foods).  In the 80’s Davis had a lot of Mom & Pop stores that treated employees well and taught them about business and every day that number is shrinking and more and more corporate chains designed for minimum wage people who don’t have to think much come in.

          > You never see them, so its ok to deny them

          > full citizenship.

          All my grandparents (legally) immigrated to the US and became citizens so I am not anti-immigration (my grandmother helped teach immigrants English through her church in to her 70’s).  I just want to have laws that make the process fair (the current process where so many US Citizens are out of work because the GOP lawmakers look the other way at the exploitation of immigrants because the business owners give them money and the Dem lawmakers look the other way at the exploitation of immigrants because the immigrants give them votes is not working well)…

  12. Jerry Waszczuk


    It looks good . Bill like this is automatically creates lot of work for lawyers . In State of California we have 1 lawyer per 210 people and they have to stay employed  . Laws schools are very costly .

  13. Eric Gelber

    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 excluded farm workers from wage protections and maximum hour standards. This was a concession to Southern legislators who adamantly opposed the bill because the agricultural industry relied on cheap, predominately African-American, labor. California followed suit, but the Industrial Welfare Commission enacted overtime and labor standards applicable to agricultural workers. However, to this day, farm workers are treated differently than other workers.
    One can come up with all manner of rationalizations for continuing this disparate treatment of employees who engage in some of the most demanding and back-breaking work. But one cannot escape the fact that this is blatant discrimination against a disempowered and predominately non-white work force.

    1. Don Shor

      Anybody who works over 8 hours a day should get overtime. Anybody who works over 40 hours a week should get overtime. These odd anachronistic exclusions should go. It might accelerate the pace of automation, but it isn’t the main cause.
      Certainly there can be exclusions for managers who truly act like salaried employees, but unfortunately that tends to be subject to abuse and thus ends up needing to be regulated as well (federal regulations have just been changed, if I recall).

      1. Jerry Waszczuk

        Regulation has to be enforced and  the enforcement of the labor laws in State of California is being challenged vigorously by employers   including overtime  laws .  Unrepresented workers have a little chance to enforce violations by complaints with State Labor Commission . It could take up to four years to get your overtime pay if employer will  challenge you in the court  after Labor Commissioner will award you overtime payback.  Nightmare  for employees .

        I have quite experiences  challenging an  employer to get my  $ 27, 000 unpaid overtime . In my case , over one hundred workers were defrauded of the  overtime pay because the  corrupted State Labor Commissioner together    permitted my employer to violate the State of California overtime law (in writing) . After  the local Labor Labor Commissioner in Stockton awarded  to me 27 K  of the unpaid overtime , my employer  represented by Littler Mendelson   appealed the ruling and judge from Superior Court in  Trial de Novo reversed the State Labor Commissioner decision .  Thereafter , I appealed the Superior Court ruling to the Court of Appeal representing myself and I defeated my employer ,  Littler Mendelson  and corrupted State Labor Commissioner . Finnaly my employer was forced to settlement with 139 workers and they got pay overtime back .  Bill mean a little . Enforcement is a key especially in agriculture industry on the fields where thousand of undocumented immigrants are being employed by contractors  which don’t care about law .

    2. quielo

      Many job categories which are popular among white workers are also excluded. As noted above managers and most professionals including, I fear, myself. I look forward to your activism on my behalf.

      1. South of Davis

        quielo wrote:

        > Many job categories which are popular among white

        > workers are also excluded.

        Many police officers are able to work 10 hours in a day without overtime and many firefighters work 24 (and even 48) hour shifts without overtime.  I wonder if this is also due to “Institutional Racism” (even though most cops and firefighters in the state are white)?

        1. Marina Kalugin

          my stepson works fulltime…three 10 hour days one week and 3 and a half 10 hour days the next week….makes more than I do in NJ state troopers and only works how many days in 2 weeks  PLUS gets lots of overtime and that is paid very well…

          he LIKES that….more days off than on…

        2. Marina Kalugin

          what prevents “dead” people from voting and pets also…especially absentee

          there was a funny article about voter fraud in the bay area…..many dead were casting ballots…what was funny to me, was that article was from the 1800s…..


        3. South of Davis

          The Pugilist wrote:

          > Why did you keep comparing salaried employees to hourly ones?

          Why do you bring up “hourly” workers (a term Sean does not even mention in his article about “Institutional Racism in the Labor Code”)?

          Sean does mention “farm worker” more than 20 times in his article and the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) says Most farm workers are paid based how many buckets or bags they pick not by the hour.

    3. hpierce

      There is another reason… for many crops, once they are ripe, there is a pretty small window for harvesting… crops don’t follow “work weeks”… harvesting tomatoes was pretty much a 24/7 operation when they were ripe… lot’s of college students signed on as ‘harvest workers’… working all night…

      Ag work is not a 365 proposition… planting, cultivation, harvest have weather/climatic cycles.  Like construction, when ag workers are needed, they are needed “right now”… otherwise, they are ‘laid off’, as most employers cannot support a payroll that has nothing to do for significant periods.

      1. Jerry Waszczuk

        I agree. To enact the Bill into law is one issue and the  enforcement  of the  labor law is  a real challenge especially in agriculture industry .

      2. South of Davis

        hpierce wrote:

        > harvesting tomatoes was pretty much a 24/7 operation

        > when they were ripe… lot’s of college students signed on

        > as ‘harvest workers’… working all night…

        Notice that hpierce wrote “was” when talking about a job harvesting tomatoes for college students.

        Forcing  everyone to pay higher wages is going to “keep” (this is not new) forcing people to find more ways to automate to stay in business.

        “In 1963 about one percent of California’s industrial tomato harvest was picked by about 60 machines. By 1968, there were over 1,450 machines across the state delivering 95 percent.”

        I read an interesting article that talked about how recorded music caused a huge drop in the number of live musicians as restaurants, bars and dance clubs could play records for a lot less than hiring musicians and the people at a small bar in rural Wyoming got to hear the top country band in the nation.  With the increase of on line education it will be interesting to see if we have a similar drop in the number of live lectures as students get to learn on line from some of the most respected professors in the nation…

  14. Marina Kalugin

    hpierce    how about showing ID?   or wait, that would be discriminatory…right?  

    many states now require that…

    I cannot cash a check, or even buy something without ID>…and so forth….but

    guess what, did I mention I have 3 legal ballots to vote?   I won’t, but I COULD>>>.

    1. The Pugilist

      It’s not that showing ID itself is discriminatory, it’s the concern about poll workers using the ID laws to deprive people the ability to vote.

      1. South of Davis

        The Pugilist wrote:

        > it’s the concern about poll workers using the ID laws

        > to deprive people the ability to vote.

        There is also the concern from the left requiring an ID will reduce the ability of non citizens to easily vote (since they typically vote for the liberal candidate)…

        1. Barack Palin

          Everyone that has one bit of honesty in them knows that the only reason that Democrats don’t want voter ID is so they can cheat the system.

    2. ryankelly

      Marina, you should contact Yolo County to correct their information.  Just letting them continue to send you multiple ballots is wrong.


    3. hpierce

      No, not exactly… State and Federal law (?) prohibit the payment of a “poll tax”… if you have to pay for a Driver’s license/ID card, it is considered a “poll tax” ( but certain folk would LOVE to eliminate the poor from voting, even if they were otherwise qualified… are you one of those?).

      Are you even a citizen? Do you vote?  Do you not know that whether you vote regularly or as a provisional or a VBM you have to give your name, address, and DECLARE, UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY, that you are the person registered, and are a qualified voter, attested by your signature?  If you came to the US from another country, how did you pass the Citizenship test, if in fact, you have?

      No, you do not have 3 legal ballots… you can only vote once… to assure you the system works, I, as a poll-worker, will invoke my right of challenging any vote you make under your various names, based on your statement, to ensure that only one vote will be counted… I will forward your post to county elections.  You can count on that!

      Kalugin and Rumiansev, or some combination, right? First name Marina?  BTW you ‘confessed’ to having 3 ballots… in a public forum… I am not law enforcement… I do not have to read you any “rights”…

      Please be sure you only vote once, and promptly notify the elections office that they have an error.  I’d hate to think you would be doing jail/prison time.  Not sure they have Wi-Fi internet connections, or allow you a computer.


      1. Marina Kalugin

        I did    jeez hpierce

        I finally got my name changed after a divorce and separation of decades long…..I got the absentee ballots in both names.

        same people who processed the form which said “old Name” and “new name”..

        I barely kept my uncle alive last year….at his age, and he always told me to stay away from politics, …and did I listen?     no…

        but anyway, he died at the end of the year, but not before filling out his new CA ID and request for an election ballot..

        At his age, he was so upset with Obama, that he was going to vote for Killary… I was working on him that truly Killary is NOT who she claims to be….

        he said, but Bill would help her?????  LOL

        Although he was a republican, he liked Bill –

        Did Bill help her with Benghazi?

        Did Bill help her with the email situation?

        Can MY second husband keep up with ME???????

        some time after he passed, his new CA ID card arrives…

        and then, guess what else he got….months later…

        all I said is I have in my posession 3 legal absentee ballots…

        due to idiots in the YOLO office and the San Mateo offices….

        and because there is NO accontability or checking of ID>>>>did I mention in CA that is ILLEGAL>>>>

        buncha numnums everywhere you look……

        of course, Social security immediately stopped his check ….but did they send the “250” bonus for dying?

        do pigs fly??????

        1. Tia Will

          buncha numnums everywhere you look……”

          It is truly amazing to me how you seem to cope in a world in which you seem to see stupidity everywhere. What a burden it must be to be so vastly superior intellectually.

  15. Marina Kalugin

    Don, I am sure you work way more than 8 hours a day…I have all my life….it depends on the business and etc…

    MANY hourly employees at UCD like to work 9 days out of 10 and get a three day weekend every othr week..

    We have staff who prefer to work longer some days and take time off to compensate….

    But, the real problem is bigger….in many states like Texas, most of the laborers are illegal and truly get abused….  in the Capay Valley organic farms area, the workers are cared for pretty well from what I can tell.


        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          In contrary I could say that my first job Texas  paid me $ 5.18/hr in 1982 and my wife worked for $3.35 /hr but after two years living in apartment we moved to nice neighborhood into 2400 sf home after I received pay raise to $8.50 and wife got new job in nice retail private cloth store as a alteration seamstress for $5,50 . I am still regretting  that  I moved from College Station , TX to Washington State few years later   because my Polish friend convinced me that  the  Washington State is green like Poland . It was true . Lot of rain and green  but no green banknotes  in the wallet .  I had to buff floors on night shift in court house for while to get by and the $ 3,35/hr  made  me quit smoking. After few years in Washington I landed in beautiful  California town of Chowchilla  near Merced and Fresno and  I fell in love with California .  USA  is so big, beautiful and generous  with plenty of  food than if you like to work instead of whining and looking for government coup of soup than you always could find something to do and survive . More rich people = less poor people. Only around rich people poor could survive . This is means business .


  16. quielo

    Studies have shown that many people in this world like to eat. The US is the largest exporter of food in the world. Why don’t we form a food cartel with the other large exporters and increase the price of food 10X? Then we have more money to pay farm workers?

  17. Marina Kalugin

    stop eating garbage and grow your own organic food….no need for any of the food cartels… fact, if it is a commodity in the US>>>>>stay away….

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