Jul 30 2010

Farmworkers Say “Take Our Jobs!”

take our jobsCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would have made farmworkers eligible to receive overtime pay after 8 hours a day, or 40 hours a week. The bill would also have given farmworkers the right to take one day off a week. Since 1972 California farmworkers have been eligible for overtime pay after 10 hours a day, or 60 hours a week. While the current law is far more progressive than Federal law, which does not grant farmworkers any overtime, it is still derided by many as discriminatory. In response to the veto State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez said the Governor was, “[continuing] the second class treatment of the men and women who toil in the fields, their backbreaking labor at the core of a more than $30 billion a year agricultural industry”. Based on government surveys and policy expert findings the Immigration Policy Center estimates that up to 75% of the nation’s farmworkers are undocumented laborers. Attitudes and policies aimed at farmworkers are intrinsically tied to those of immigration. One major argument in favor of punitive immigration policies and closed borders is that undocumented workers are fueling unemployment by taking jobs from citizens. The United Farm Workers, founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, organizes and advocates for improved labor and immigration policy. In July it launched the “Take Our Jobs” campaign to challenge the idea that American citizens want the agricultural jobs currently filled by undocumented workers. On July 8th the campaign got a high profile boost when comedian Stephen Colbert interviewed UFW president Alberto Rodriguez on his TV show. Colbert accepted the challenge, saying he would spend a day in the fields.

GUEST: Marc Grossman, spokesperson for United Farm Workers, Press secretary, speech writer and Personal assistant to Cesar Chavez

Find out more at www.takeourjobs.org.

One response so far

One Response to “Farmworkers Say “Take Our Jobs!””

  1. BillMoyersPlantationon 02 Aug 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Hod disappointing that a European Governor of California does all he can to bring back abject slavery. No slavery for him. His fortunate came from encouraging mayhem with his gratuitously violent cinema. Such are our masters in these latter days of America.