Dairy Overtime Ruling Pt 1

Dairy Overtime Ruling Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. The Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling that is very disappointing to the state’s dairy industry and should be for all of agriculture, effectively striking down our state’s exemption from paying farmworkers time-and-a-half for overtime.

Dan Wood, Executive Director of the Washington State Dairy Federation, says it’s a very disturbing decision …

WOOD … “Well, the legislature passed about 60 years ago a law that said you just pay a straight hourly rate for agricultural workers, not the time and a half beyond 40-hours that applies to other work sectors. And, the Supreme Court, 60-years later, ruled that it was unconstitutional.”

Wood says this ruling hurts all dairies, large and small, costing them as much as a million dollars a year …

WOOD … “And so, their options are to eliminate jobs, to cut people back to 40-hours instead of says a 55-hour week that people are working in order to earn more money, to reduce their hourly rate, or just close their business, or put in robotics. You know, robotic milkers, robotic feed movers, etc. Or, even move out of state.”

And, Wood says this could just the first of similar rulings …

WOOD … “And so, this has sent shock waves through the Dairy Community and all it is going to take is one more case for this to apply to all of agriculture.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on this Supreme Court ruling and what it could mean for ag employers in every commodity group.

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