California News

Aug 30, 2013 8:33 PM by Associated Press

Bill would help farmworkers collect back wages

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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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