Merced

UFW march on route to the Capitol

FRESNO -- Just two months after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB104, the United Farm Workers have decided to show him they are not going to give up the fight so easily.

Tuesday, they embarked on a 167-mile pilgrimage from Madera to the state Capitol to demand the governor sign a revised Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now bill.

The bill will be reintroduced in the Legislature but will contain a "sunset" provision, meaning that its mandates would expire on Jan. 1, 2015 when Brown's term ends.

"We are definitely approaching this legislation slightly differently this time around. If Gov. Brown is not happy with the bill and if he doesn't feel its doing the job that it should be doing, then we are giving him the control and authority to change the legislation," said UFW president Arturo S. Rodríguez.

The bill would make it easier for farmworkers to obtain union membership, seek higher wages and improved working conditions.

Organizers said the march is in response to Brown's comments that he was "not yet convinced" when he vetoed SB 104 on June 28.

Starting Tuesday, pilgrims will be marching approximately 12.8 miles a day until they reach Sacramento on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

Thousands of UFW supporters including farm workers and union organizers are expected to participate garnering support in stops that will take place in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, Manteca, Stockton, Galt and other places.

The UFW also plans to introduce a companion bill calling for overtime regulations to be extended to farmworkers. Historically, most state employees are eligible to receive overtime pay for working more than eight hours a day but farmworkers have been excluded from overtime-pay rules since 1938 when Congress passed the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Send e-mail to: cmoreno@vidaenelvalle.com

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