In Our Weekly’s August 27th issue both editorialist Jaivon Grant and AAFC president Will Scott apparently got the impression that I was trying to make a deliberate comparison on the floor of the State Senate between opponents of required overtime pay for today’s California farmworkers and opponents of the 13th amendment to the US Constitution that freed America’s slaves in 1865.
Agribusiness in California is more profitable than in any other state and, as a result, I defend the modern right to overtime pay. Just as I addressed the progress of worker’s rights in the context of Southern Congressmen who had defended slavery on the grounds that America’s cotton and tobacco industries would prove uncompetitive without free slave labor—and yet were proved wrong.
Today’s workers do not toil in the fields under the cruel and optionless reality of legal slavery as did African Americans. Yet the California economy in which we all participate would be severely stressed if this labor went undone. I encourage your readers to view my full remarks on YouTube at: http://sd30.senate.ca.gov/news/news/2016-08-22-sen-mitchell-remarks-ab1066-overtime-agricultural-workers.