SB 5172 Stalls Pt 3

SB 5172 Stalls Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The clock is ticking as ag employers hope to see some needed changes on a Senate bill that’s moved to the House aimed at protecting ag employers from retroactive overtime payments.

Pam Lewison, Ag Initiative Director at the Washington Policy Center, says if changes are made it has to be NOW …

LEWISON … “We have a really short time line before it hits the House floor and then, hopefully, everything that gets done is done and then it crosses the Governor’s desk.”

As currently written, Lewison says SB 5172 takes more than it gives …

LEWISON … “It means that the Ag community has agreed to this phased in approach for overtime without getting the protection that it deserves for the retroactive pay. So, just sort of trading something for nothing.”

Lewison says farmers are watching in disbelief …

LEWISON … “They are, in this moment, struggling with how to get through this legislative session and also still do what they do for the people around them.”

Lewison says this will negatively impact the workers as well as the farmers …

LEWISON … “Farmers don’t do it for money, they do it for love, love for their employees, love for their land, and love for what it is they do. And, I think that gets lost a lot.”

Lewison says Washington farmworkers are the highest paid in the nation, even without overtime pay.

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