Overtime For Agriculture Pt 2

Overtime For Agriculture Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A Senate bill moves on to the House that could phase in overtime pay for farmworkers and protect ag employers from lawsuits looking to apply Novembers Supreme Court ruling retroactively.

Jon DeVaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, says the need for this legislation came about suddenly when the court put the ag overtime issue on the table …

DeVANEY ... “We have talked to legislators about the fact that the exemption was originally put in place to reflect the needs of agriculture and the seasonal nature of it, and the unpredictable nature of agriculture.”

DeVaney says there are just too many variables to consider in agriculture …

DeVANEY … “With quick weather changes and urgent pressure to complete some tasks, it’s very hard for growers to plan their work in a long term, deliberate, shift-based environment the way other manufacturing or retail or other sectors might be able to do.”

And, DeVaney says there are concerns the overtime exemption law was unfair and even racist …

DeVANEY … “But, I think it’s important to recognize that this was not about the demographics of the farm worker population in our state when the law was originally passed. The farm worker population was 85% non-Hispanic white in Washington state. It was reflective of the needs of agriculture.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on Revised Senate Bill 5172 and overtime pay for agriculture.

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