Farm Labor Lawsuit Pt 1

Farm Labor Lawsuit Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The Washington Farm Bureau and WAFLA are teaming up to sue the state because they won’t revise the emergency regulations established almost a year ago to protect farmworkers from the COVID-19 virus.

Farm Bureau CEO John Stuhlmiller says there’s been no updates to the rules since March …

STUHLMILLER … “So, it’s the COVID temporary farmworker housing rules and this is the third round of emergency rule. And, that’s why we are concerned, because, you know, eleven months of activity and we should be able to not be in emergency rule status and we should be able to make some plans for future activities, including when this vaccine is distributed, etc.”

So almost a year later, Stuhlmiller says things HAVE changed, just not the rules …

STUHLMILLER … “You can only have half your housing filled regardless of what the circumstances are. There’s no forethought, which is, to me, the most egregious thing here is, for the third time, adopt emergency rules that were created way back when, when there was no potential of a vaccine, we haven’t moved a dime and so we just keep redoing it.”

Bottom line, Stuhlmiller says agriculture has had zero say in the matter …

STUHLMILLER … “And, they’re not talking to Ag and saying how do we make things work better, like they are with other businesses like construction and restaurants, etc.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on this lawsuit and why it’s crucial the rules be updated for ag laborers … before too much of the work gets done for the upcoming season.

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