Overtime For Agriculture Pt 4

Overtime For Agriculture Pt 4

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The ag overtime bill, Senate Bill 5172, came to be after the state Supreme Court’s November ruling that agriculture’s exemption from paying overtime was unconstitutional.

Jon DeVaney, President at the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, says the bill is not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative …

DeVANEY … “It doesn’t mean you get everything you want in that process, but this kind of direct negotiation and legislating, rather than litigating, is a much better environment for making policy.”

Without this legislation, DeVaney says farmers could lose their livelihoods and workers their jobs…

DeVANEY … “Certainly, you can plan for risks in your business. Farmers are used to planning for possible risks, but a risk that the law that had been on the books for 60 years might suddenly be changed, and you’d be penalized for having followed the law, was not a risk that most growers could foresee or plan for.”

The necessity for this overtime bill, DeVaney says came as a big surprised to everyone …

DeVANEY … “We do particularly appreciate the efforts of Senator King who sponsored the bill and negotiated with Senate Labor Chair Karen Keiser. They really delved deeply into the overtime issue to get us to a bill that could move out of the Senate, and we appreciate their work in bringing the parties together for that compromise.”

DeVaney says there will now be negotiations, but the bipartisan support has been encouraging.

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