WAGES & GENERAL INFO
IVVGA was founded based on labor issues. Today labor is the #1 cost of the production of our food. Our farm labor force is a part of our team and family. As the California legislation continues to increase the cost of labor through new minimum wages and various regulations, the vast majority of those costs are absorbed by the grower. The grower does not set the price of the food sold in the grocery store.
In 2015 and 2016 the California Legislature enacted significant changes to the wages and overtime rules for farm labor workers.. The following chart is provided to assist our growers in step up in wages and step down in the number of hours a farm labor worker can provide prior to overtime in a day/week.
HEAT ILLNESS REFORM
CAL OSHA Heat Illness Update (Effective May 1, 2015)
The California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board approved changes to the state’s Heat Illness Prevention (HIP) Regulations (Cal. Code of Regs. tit. 8, § 3395). The board intends to request that the revisions be made effective May, 2015, so that the changes are in place prior to the upcoming heat season. WGA provides the following summary of the HIP regulation revisions:
Water: “Fresh, pure, suitably cool" water must be located as close as practicable to where employees are working, with exceptions when employers can demonstrate infeasibility.
Shade: Must be provided when temperature reaches 80° F (current threshold is 85° F), and accommodate all employees on recovery or rest periods, and those taking onsite meal periods.
Preventative cool-down rest": Employees must be 1) monitored for symptoms of heat illness; 2) encouraged to remain in the shade; and 3) cannot be ordered back to work until symptoms are gone. Employees with symptoms must be provided appropriate first aid or emergency response.
High-heat procedures: Trigger remains at 95° F. Employer must ensure "effective" observation and monitoring, including a mandatory buddy system and regular communication with employees working by themselves. During high heat, employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool-down period every two hours. This means that employees must be given an extra 10-minute rest period for workdays longer than 8 hours during high heat periods.
Emergency response procedures: Requires effective communication; response to signs and symptoms of heat illness; and procedures for contacting emergency responders to help workers in distress.
Acclimation procedures: Employers must closely observe all employees during a heat wave (80° F). New employees must be closely observed for their first two weeks on the job..
Employers will have to revise their heat illness programs and train employees prior to May 1, 2015. View the check list for its membership to help your company insure compliance.
U. S. Immigration Reform is important to the members of IVVGA. We have encouraged both the Senate and House of Representatives leadership to pass a comprehensive bill. With the pending new Executive Leadership, we hope that the vital on immigration will be addressed and in a timely manner. It is critically important for the agricultural community to have a legal and reliable workforce who are able to maintain a focus on food product safety for the health of the American consumer.
In July 2013, Voice of America, traveled to Imperial Valley to film our farmers on this issue.