California Citrus Mutual announced last week at the 2016 Citrus Showcase in Visalia the formation of a new association, the California Agricultural Labor Association (CALA).
The announcement was made during a workshop at the annual industry conference about two major developments in labor compensation laws for employees paid a piece rate. Going forward, CALA will provide guidance to employers and farm labor contractors in the citrus industry for complying with all labor laws and compensation regulations.
“Piece-rate compensation and joint liability are only two labor obstacles that the agricultural industry is struggling to understand and implement,” CCM President Joel Nelsen says. “Regulatory compliance is constantly evolving and the challenge of maintaining compliance with both state and federal regulations is difficult and taxing. To meet this challenge, the citrus industry formed CALA, which will serve farm labor contractors, growers, and packinghouses alike.”
CALA was created to inform, educate and assist farm labor contractors and agricultural employers by providing training, informational resources, and assistance with record keeping and reporting requirements to assure all are fully complying correctly and in a uniform manner.
“When it comes to regulatory compliance, it is imperative that all parties involved in contract employment comply with the laws and regulations in the same manner,” CALA Vice President Vicky Lomeli says.
Over the next several months CALA will be busy enrolling members and hiring an Executive Officer to put together staffing and programming, with a goal to be fully operational by fall 2016.