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Measure could allow California farmworkers to be paid in event of natural disaster

New California bill could pay farmworkers when disasters force them to stop work
New California bill could pay farmworkers when disasters force them to stop work 01:35

SACRAMENTO – There's a national push to protect hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers by making sure they still get paid even when they can't work.

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

It's co-authored by California Senator Alex Padilla and would make grant money more easily accessible to farmworker organizations, that way farmworkers can receive their compensation through that organization.

This comes after the strong winter storms California faced over the past couple of years where fields flooded and crucial levees broke.

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

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

"You know we go back to COVID and farm, farmers were deemed essential and we still farmed we found a way to provide PPE and 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 problems," Mitchell said. 

The bill also aims to make it more clear as to what kind of disasters are covered for farmworkers to receive pay.

A farmworker advocate told me that trust is a major key when it comes to seasonal farm workers. They are hoping this bill could increase that with more money to the organization's farmworkers trust.

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