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Fruit Bites Fruit grower report 2019

Bob Larson Farm Justice Now Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: September 11, 2019

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Washington growers don’t mind having competition, but consumers should know what their local growers are up against when deciding how to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Save Family Farming director Gerald Baron says one of the biggest challenges growers face to remain competitive is the cost of labor …

BARON … “In Washington state this year, guest workers were paid $20 to $25 an hour, averaging about $20 an hour. Of course, that’s much higher than the minimum wage and the law requires that they be paid more than the minimum wage. So, that is about 20-times higher than what these same workers can make in Mexico. In fact, they would have to work six years, full time, at Mexican minimum wage of $11 per day in order to earn what they earn in three or four months on our Washington farms. That’s why these jobs are so valuable to these workers.”

Making it even more difficult, Baron says are local anti-farming groups pushing for unions …

BARON … “And that’s why it’s so unjust of groups like Community to Community to try and take these jobs away from them.”

Baron says that’s why they’re expanding their education efforts and encouraging growers to become more involved …

BARON … “So, they need to be aware of that. They need to see what our anti-farm activists are doing and they need to participate in that by supporting the public outreach efforts and by getting involved themselves.”

Baron says to help in this effort, they’ve developed a new website, www.farmworkerjusticenow.org as a resource for learning more about the labor challenges growers are facing.

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