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Grijalva re-introduces bill to require overtime pay for farm workers

Legislation brought by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva aims to formalize wages and labor conditions for farm workers. 

This is at least the third time Grijalva, a Democrat in southern Arizona, has introduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, this time alongside a similar bill from U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat representing California. 

If passed, it would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, which dates back to the 1930s and cuts some farm workers out of labor regulations required in other industries — like overtime pay.

Under the new bill, all agricultural workers would be entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay. It would also remove exemptions to overtime requirements for employees in farm-adjacent work – like irrigation projects and livestock auctions. 

More than 50 legislators have signed onto the bill in the U.S. House and about a dozen in the U.S. Senate. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.