Assembly to Vote on Farmworker Overtime Bill After Protest

United Farmworkers President Arturo Rodriguez (L, arms raised) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (C) emerge after meeting about AB 1066 on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (Katie Orr/KQED)

Hundreds of California farmworkers filled the hall in front of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon's office and spilled into the Capitol rotunda. They chanted and sang in protest after a bill they had traveled to Sacramento to support failed to get a vote in the Assembly.

AB 1066 would allow workers to be paid overtime after they work eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Right now they must work 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week to get extra pay. The bill faces tough opposition. Supporters knew it could be close, but they were shocked when it wasn't even put up for a vote after Assembly leaders were unsure whether it had the 41 votes needed to pass.

After the Assembly adjourned for the rest of the week, the farmworkers gathered near Rendon's office. United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez insisted the votes were there.

"We believe we do have the 41 votes necessary to win this," he said. "The farmworkers have been visiting and going out and talking to members of the state Assembly all throughout the state now for weeks."

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In search of answers, Rodriguez and other representatives met with Rendon (D-Paramount). After awhile the group emerged. Flanked by lawmakers, including the bill's author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Rendon reassured the crowd their bill would get a vote.

“I know a lot of people came here, you took time off from work, you missed out on a day of pay, because you understand how significant this issue is to you, to your families and to all Californians," he said. "We did not take a vote today. We will take a vote next week."

Rendon said the bill will come up on Monday -- and he implored the farmworkers to help him get it passed.

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