California farmworker overtime bill signed by Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown, a onetime champion of farmworker causes whose relationship with farm labor appeared to fray in recent years, signed legislation Monday granting agricultural workers the same right to overtime pay as other Californians.

The bill’s enactment marked a major victory for the United Farm Workers union – and a setback for industry interests – six years after Brown’s predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, vetoed a similar bill.

Brown, a fourth-term Democrat, signed Assembly Bill 1066 without comment. He refused to discuss the legislation in a meeting with the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee on Monday afternoon, declining to talk about any subject other than his ballot measure to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole.

The farmworker overtime bill’s enactment followed narrow passage in the Legislature and intense lobbying by farmworkers. Assembly Bill 1066 will raise overtime wages for agricultural workers incrementally over four years, ultimately matching other industries by requiring time-and-a-half pay for more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

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