Mexican Farm Workers Strike: Demanding Overtime Pay, Breaks, Water and Healthcare

April 28, 2015 - The Associated Press states that the average farm worker will make between $8-10 for a full 10-hour day of labor. Supporting yourself on such an income is difficult. Supporting your family on such an income is close to impossible. The Baja, California Mexican farm workers strike involves fifty thousand. Their strike is an aggressive method of protesting low wages, poor living/working conditions as well as general right abuses.

As the Mexican farm workers and the growers attempt to come together to resolve the issue, millions in crops have rotted in the field as the two play tug of war over the operations/property. It has been reported that workers have been witnessed throwing rocks and burning tires as they attempt to increase the attention given to the alleged mistreatment of the workers who farm millions of dollars worth of produce including strawberries and tomatoes in Baja. While the dispute was escalating, workers on strike blocked the main north-south highway and the Transpeninsular Highway. It’s also notable that additional strikes are breaking out in the surrounding area.

Workers are on strike demanding overtime pay, health care, water, breaks and time off. They also seek an end of arbitrary firings, and other abuses including sexual abuse. Workers (who are typically paid $8-10 per day) are requesting an increase to $20/day for long days in the sun or hothouse.

The farmers are being urged to return to work before the destruction of the crops leads to a destruction of jobs. Many could be affected by the ripple effect this would have on the region’s economy. During the course of the strike, over 200 protestors have been arrested for various activities including: riots, vandalism, rock-throwing, etc. To protect themselves and their livelihoods, businesses have boarded up their windows. More than 1,000 police officers have been dispersed throughout Baja, California area to control the situation.

If you are looking for information on hostile workplace conditions, contact the southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act vs. California’s Meal and Rest Break Requirements


Initially, wage and hour putative class action brought by the same truck drivers was dismissed. Alleged claims were based on violations of California’s meal break laws. The class action was dismissed on the ground that the Federal Aviation Administration Act (FAAAA) preempted California meal break laws. It was the second time in recent months that a court upheld the argument that California’s break laws are preempted by the FAAAA. The FAAAA specifically preempts state laws when there is a significant impact on the “routes, service or prices” of motor carriers.

Truck drivers received a boost recently as their attempt to revive the class action suit against Vitran Express Inc. was supported by the Ninth Circuit court’s decision that the Federal Aviation Administration Act did not preempt California’s meal and rest break requirements. Many are watching the progress of the case.

Additional Background on the Case:

Plaintiffs were former truck drivers of Performance Food Group, Inc. (PFG), located in California. Plaintiffs claimed that PFG arranged delivery routes in order to ensure excellent customer service and timely delivery of cargo without taking into account “time pressure” on the truckers who were being given delivery windows and other policies that prevented them from taking meal breaks.

If you have questions about the California meal break laws, ask the experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.