Several dozen farm laborers marched to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office today to deliver a bill requiring overtime pay equity for farmworkers.
Sen. Dean Florez, a Democrat from Shafter and the author of Senate Bill 1121, led the crowd down the steps from his third floor office inside the Capitol.
Florez was also joined by United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez and Monsignor James Murphy from Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The crowd knelt and prayed outside the governor's first-floor office, then delivered the official copy of the bill to Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear.
Florez's bill would lift a 1941 exemption in state labor code that excludes farmworkers from getting overtime pay after an eight-hour day or a 40-hour week. The more than a half-million farmworkers in California now get overtime pay only after 10 hours of work in one day or a 60-hour week.
Schwarzenegger has 12 days from today to sign or veto the bill. Agricultural interests are pressuring him to veto it, arguing that employers will cut workers' hours to avoid overtime during long harvest days.
"We're talking about (the governor) taking what might be called a 'profile in courage' choice," Florez said at a news conference in his office before going down the stairs.
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