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This measure could ensure California farmworkers can get paid in the event of a natural disaster

SACRAMENTO – There is a national effort to protect hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers by ensuring they still get paid even if they can’t work.

The measure would allow federal funding to go to farmworkers if a natural disaster prevents them from working.

Co-authored by California Senator Alex Padilla, it would make grant funds more easily accessible to farmworker organizations so that farmworkers can receive their compensation through that organization.

This comes after the strong winter storms California has experienced in recent years, flooding fields and breaching crucial levees.

As the area prepares for the triple-digit heat we know is hitting the Central Valley, this bill could also compensate them for high-temperature days when they can’t work.

A local farmer, Ken Mitchell, says farm workers are essential not only to his farm, but to the entire state.

“You know, we’re going back to COVID and farming, farming was considered essential and we were still farming. We found a way to provide personal protective equipment and work our nation’s farms during that critical time. We didn’t have a shortage of food, you know we have to run on toilet paper and distribution issues,” Mitchell said.

The bill also aims to clarify what types of disasters are covered for agricultural workers to receive wages.

An advocate for farmworkers told me that trust is a major key when it comes to seasonal agricultural workers. They hope this bill can increase this with more money for the organization’s farmworker trust.