Yakima, Washington — Today, Gov. Inslee signed the Tomás Villanueva Overtime Protection Bill (SB 5172) giving all Washington State farm workers the right to overtime pay. For months, UFW worker leaders held meetings and town hall conversations with lawmakers and stakeholders in the legislative session to garner support for the legislation. After intensive collaborative negotiations, the bill had passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Washington is now the second state in the nation to remove the racist exclusion of farm workers from national overtime pay laws.
Ana Cruz, long-time UFW farm worker activist and UFW Foundation organizer shared the following remarks at the bill signing ceremony:
“Farm work is difficult work. During my five years as a dairy worker, I saw firsthand how much workers sacrifice. Injuries are constant in dairies. Many of us worked 16-hour shifts with no overtime pay. Agriculture is Washington’s second-largest industry. Washington ranks number two in the nation in the number of farm workers. Our state’s 230,000 farm workers help generate $7.9 billion each year. Farm workers feed all of us. Farm workers deserve overtime pay. Today’s bill signing puts an end to 83 years of racist exclusion of farm workers from Washington state’s overtime pay laws. Thank you to Senator Karen Keiser and all of our allies who were committed to making this happen. Most importantly, a massive thank you to all the workers who never gave up the fight to be treated as equal as other workers.”