State Democrats representing coastal and valley farm districts (plus Oakland) are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to expand his universal basic income pilot program to farmworkers displaced by drought. The administration has earmarked $35 million for the program in its budget proposal.
With farmers fallowing land, less work will be available for farmworkers. Drought-induced bumps in food prices will also impact vulnerable populations like farmworkers. Work days will be further capped at six hours on days of 100-degree heat or higher, the lawmakers pointed out in a letter to Newsom.
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“If farmworkers do get to work the maximum time allowed before overtime pay kicks in—at $14.25 an hour for 8.5 hours a day—farmworkers are only bringing home $2,500 a month,” reads the letter. “We collectively support adding displaced, underemployed, or unemployed farmworkers due to drought to the eligibility list.”