I spent a couple of hours at a dairy today and it was depressing. The family is in dire straits. They are at risk in our case because they overpaid their workers. Everyone agrees they work about 10.5 hours per day. The dairy calculated 10 hours at minimum wage (10 hours is the regular ag day) and 2 hours of overtime every day (more than they ever worked) and paid them this every 2 week pay period, even though it was more hours than they actually worked. Every check stub shows 100-110 hours of regular pay, and 20-22 overtime hours, depending on how many days they worked. (Stability of pay and incentive for staying on the milking schedule is why they do this.).

The lawyers on the other side make the semantic distinction that this is a “salary,” and claim unpaid wages. The California Labor Code says a “salary” for a non-exempt employee provides no compensation for overtime hours at all. So they claim minimum wage, plus overtime is due for all of the hours over 10 in a day, plus a shitload of penalties. If we lose, the dairy is bankrupt. I ran the numbers, and the workers made more than if they had been paid minimum wage (milking is aminikum wage job) and OT for their actual hours, and they also got free housing and utilities paid. It is very stupid. And sad. I can’t get the family’s faces out of my mind - especially the son, in his 20s, working his ass off for no future.


These are the days that are hard in this job