Dairy Overtime Ruling Pt 3

Dairy Overtime Ruling Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. Ag employers will now be required to pay time-and-a-half to farmworkers who work over 40-hours a week, after a ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court removing ag’s exemption in the state.

Dan Wood, Washington State Dairy Federation’s executive director, says the expenses involved leave farmers with few options that don’t impact worker pay …

WOOD … “I had one person tell me they’re looking at Oregon and Idaho and whether or not they can move their dairy. You know, people can move their cattle and some of their equipment, or they can put in brand new equipment and make a go of it in other states.”

Wood says this huge financial hit is aimed at dairy farmers, for now …

WOOD … “This changes the calculation on everything. It has just gotten remarkably more expensive to do dairy and, soon, all of agriculture in Washington state, compared to most of the nation and most of the world. We possibly have the, now, highest labor costs for dairy in the entire world.”

Wood says, the bottom line IS the bottom line …

WOOD … “Either the money is there or it’s not. In most cases, the money is not there for dairies and, soon, other farmers to be able to absorb the impact of this.

It’s just too huge! And so, something has to change and it’s going to harm workers.”

Last week’s ruling follows others by the Washington State Supreme Court favoring higher pay for farmworkers.

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