More on Labor Issues

More on Labor Issues

More on Labor Issues. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

This last season was a tough one for many tree fruit growers in the state when it came to farm labor. There just weren’t enough workers to get the job done. Dan Fazio with the Washington Farm Labor Association has been working on trying to develop a strong workforce in the state so we don’t see a repeat of this year but getting action in the other Washington has been slow coming.

FAZIO: A lot of people are long on rhetoric and short on solutions, it’s 365 24/7 campaign season that we’re entering right now and so we have to as an industry cowboy up and solve our own problem and it’s things like labor contractors for example where you’re hiring a person that’s going to have the people there when you need them and hopefully turn some seasonal, part-time work into full-time work.

Fazio says there are about 500 refugees in the state that are extremely good, willing and legal workers.

FAZIO: We are bound and determined as an association to make the H2a program work and we’re seeing a lot of interest in the H2a program. People are calling us from all over the state saying can you make this H2a program work. There’s a lot of talk and a lot of help that we’re receiving from the state agencies now and a lot of interest by the state agencies and putting pressure on Washington DC to be more flexible with that guest worker program.

Again, Fazio says getting politicians to act is the rub.

FAZIO: I think all the candidates when you push them say we need a guest worker program but every candidate, the devils in the details whether it’s President Obama or any of the Republican challengers, they’ll all tell you we’re going to have a guest worker program.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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