Some Farmworkers Opposed to Overtime Bill

LODI -- As a tractor driver, Jorge Delgadillo is just as important to Mohr-Fry Ranch in Lodi as the grapes he tends to seasonally.

And as a farmworker with more than 20 years of experience, he believes AB 1066, which is very close to becoming law, may end up hurting workers like him.

"Don’t sign it. Don’t sign the law,” Jorge Delgadillo said.

On Monday, the state legislature passed a bill that would grant farmworkers time-and-a-half pay for more than eight hours of work, like most California workers.

Hundreds of people who championed the bill say it is a step toward worker equality and human rights. Right now, employees like Delgadillo only get overtime after they work 10 hours.

Farm owner Bruce Fry said agricultural work is unlike other lines of employment, especially during harvest season when workers need to work long hours.

"This bill is not an overtime bill, it’s a 40-hour workweek bill, and it’s a 'reduces their income bill.' That’s what it is,” said Bruce Fry, VP of operations for Mohr-Fry Ranch.

He fears the bill might force him to cut his employees’ hours and ultimately their pay.

“The problem with this bill is it hurts my employees, it’s cutting a third of their pay, a third of their hours a week,” Fry explained.

His employees said they feel the same way. They said fewer hours mean less pay and not enough money to provide for their families.

“This is serious. Leave it how it is,” farmworker Gilberto Briseno told FOX40 in Spanish.

The fate of the bill is now up to the governor. He has a little less than a month to sign it, if it does become law, it will be in full effect by 2022.