Bill would help farmworkers collect back wages

August 30, 2013 • Business

State Sen. William Monning, D- Carmel, urges lawmakers to approve his bill that would hold successor farm labor contractors liable for wages owned to farmworkers, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. The bill, SB168 was approved by the Senate on a 23-11 vote [auth] and sent to the governor.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Farmworkers would have an easier time retrieving the back wages they are owed under a bill heading to Gov. Jerry Brown.

SB168 makes farm labor contractors liable for any wages or penalties owed by a labor contract they inherit, such as through an ownership change of the business.

Sen. Bill Monning, a Democrat from Carmel, says his bill is designed to end a “shell game” that is practiced when some contractors slightly alter their corporate identity to avoid paying farm laborers.

Sen. Jim Nielsen, a Republican from Gerber, said the legislation could harm the agriculture industry. It is opposed by nearly a dozen growers’ organizations.

The United Farm Workers and other unions support the bill.

The Senate approved SB168 on a 23-11 vote Friday.

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