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Fruit Bites Fruit grower report 2019

Bob Larson More H-2A Fees Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: March 11, 2019

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. If you hire H-2A foreign guestworkers and have been disappointed that the expenses aren’t quite high enough, you may be in luck! If it passes, Senate Bill 5438 would put additional fees on your bill in order to hire more administrators.

Washington Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says the initial request came from the State Department of Employment Security …

Devaney … “It does have largely the support of those who are west-side legislators who are concerned about the H-2A program and may believe that there are enough domestic workers. You know, they may not have a good handle on exactly what the agricultural labor market looks like these days and are sympathetic to those who think the H-2A program is not needed or is not adequately run or have other concerns about it.”

That aside, DeVaney says it’s not a state program …

Devaney … “Our point, of course, is that the H-2A program regulations are written by the feds. We don’t decide exactly how the program is run, but it should be run correctly and they should have enough resources to properly administer it.”

The bill is currently making its way through the process …

Devaney … “Well, it’s moved out of two committees at this point. It’s moved out of the Ways and Means Committee and the Labor and Commerce Committee and changes were made at both stages. Most recently in the Ways and Means Committee, they did move the bill out, but even though supporting the bill acknowledged that it was a work in progress and that more changes were needed.”

Listen tomorrow for more on this bill that would tack on even more to your already high cost of labor.

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