WA State Tree Fruit and Legislation Pt 3

WA State Tree Fruit and Legislation Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A busy legislative session is wrapping up in Olympia, with a few bills ag groups are keeping an eye on.

Yesterday, Jon DeVaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, talked about a House bill dealing with farm labor contractors which he says created a presumption of guilt for ag employers …

DEVANEY … “Including making the employer liable for information they might not have had any way of knowing, if an employee had contacted a state agency directly to ask about their rights and you subsequently said you know, you’re not doing a great job where we have to let you go. That would be presumed to be retaliation. And, you would have to affirmatively proved that you didn’t know that they were making those inquiries to a state agency.”

And that, DeVaney says is not the way our system is supposed to work …

DEVANEY … “That, sort of, making the onus on the employer to prove your innocence turns all of our nation’s legal precedence on its head, so agricultural groups, in general, and our industry were concerned that that was a really bad precedent to be setting. And, fortunately, legislators agreed and that language was stripped out of that bill.”

In the end, DeVaney says it’s not quite as bad …

DEVANEY … “The bill did move forward out of the Senate, but now all of those offensive portions were removed and all it does now is remove an existing exemption from the requirement to register as a farm labor contractor for non-profit associations.”

All things considered, DeVaney says recent trade deals have given hope for the growing season ahead.

Previous ReportWA State Tree Fruit and Legislation Pt 2
Next ReportAg Labor Meeting in D.C. Pt 1