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On April 4th California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 3 into law, which will incrementally increase the hourly state minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

 

This decision to raise wages for working Californians rightfully included farmworkers, the 500,000 men, women and youth (i) who bring California’s harvest to the tables of millions.

 

This decision bucks a historical trend of excluding farmworkers from rules and legislation aimed at improving the well being of low-wage workers. This is an important time in California agricultural history and there is much to be learned from the changes the bill will bring in the years ahead.

 

CIRS is ready to study these changes. This May we will embark upon a targeted research initiative that builds upon our archive of farm labor research, to inform and guide responses to SB 3 implementation within agricultural communities. 

 

The inclusion of farm wages under SB 3 signals a turn towards more inclusive economic policymaking in California. This is definitely a victory and it helps build further momentum in the Fight for 15 that continues throughout our nation. Yet, in the wake of this victory there should remain a healthy skepticism.

 

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Photo of a man hand weeding in Arvin, California. (Courtesy of  David Bacon)

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