Jim Crow is Alive and Well in California
SB 1121 was hardly a radical-sounding piece of legislation. Among other things, it would have given California's 700,000 farm workers the right to take one day off out of every seven. Hourly paid agricultural employees would have received overtime pay after eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.
But when the bill landed on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk, he vetoed it, saying that the new provisions would put farmers out of business.
Had the law passed, California farm laborers would have been the first in the country to receive the right to overtime pay. In order to get his New Deal policies past southern Democrats in the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt exempted field hands (most of whom were African-American at the time) from protections granted other workers. Those exemptions still stand.
"The governor had a chance to make history," Sen. Dean Florez, the bill's author, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He had a chance to wipe a 70-year-old shame off the books of California. Instead he has decided to side with the shameful."
Perhaps we should boycott Khali-phorn-i-ah?
LINK: The Atlantic