United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez issued the following statement today (July 11, 2017) from the union’s Keene, Calif. headquarters:
The United Farm Workers endorses lifelong Pomona resident and current local farm worker Richard Trujillo against incumbent 20th District state Sen. Connie Leyva because Sen. Leyva showed she does not believe farm workers are equal to all other workers when she refused to vote for AB 1066, last year’s law granting California farm workers overtime pay after eight hours a day—the same overtime pay nearly all other American workers have enjoyed since the 1930s.
The overtime measure, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, was about more than letting farm workers earn the same time-and-a-half overtime pay nearly all other California workers had received over the previous 78 years. Many farm workers gave up days of pay to lobby lawmakers like Sen. Leyva at the state Capitol last year because what was at stake for them was the dignity of being treated equally, like all other workers. Sen. Leyva denied farm workers that dignity when she failed to vote for AB 1066.
Sen. Leyva’s opponent, Richard Trujillo, says he is running because “being treated equally is something that’s important to me” as a farm worker who often labors in summer temperatures at or around 100 degrees. Candidate Trujillo says his coworkers “should get treated the same and they should get the same benefits as other workers.” He says he is running against Sen. Leyva on behalf of all the farm workers whose voices need to be heard. That is why their union, the United Farm Workers, is endorsing Richard Trujillo for state Senate in the 20th District.