Farm Labor Lawsuit Pt 2

Farm Labor Lawsuit Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Protecting farmworkers from the COVID-19 virus is something ag employers take very seriously, but the state seems to believe otherwise.

Washington Farm Bureau CEO John Stuhlmiller says the unchanging emergency regulations set almost a year ago are the reason for a lawsuit brought against the state.

He says many of the rules just aren’t reasonable for this “essential” industry …

STUHLMILLER … “So, they’ve got a couple of things. One is, housing is 50% of capacity. That’s a big deal when workers, you know, guestworkers, H-2A, as well as other migrant workers move into the area and you can only use half of your housing.”

On top of that, Stuhlmiller says is unworkable healthcare …

STUHLMILLER … “Twice a day medical visits, you’ve got to be within 20 minutes of medical services with advanced life support, and you have to have access to emergency medical services within 20 minutes and you’ve to have one hour max to an emergency room visit.”

Stuhlmiller wonders where the state thinks these farms are …

STUHLMILLER … “Now, think about the clientele that these are applying to, and it’s rural Washington. We’re not downtown Seattle. There isn’t a hospital on every other corner. Many of our members are more than an hour away from a doctor. Most, you know, the lion’s share are more than an hour from an emergency room. And yet, these are the regulations created from that Ivory Tower of Olympia.”

Come back tomorrow for more on this lawsuit and why the regulations are over the top.

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