Overtime Bill Passed Pt 2

Overtime Bill Passed Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. An acceptable version of the agriculture overtime bill has passed in the House and now heads to Governor Inslee’s desk for signing.

Breanne Elsey, with the Washington Farm Bureau, says an exemption for harvest season was not included in the final bill, but it’s not going away …

ELSEY … “Yes, that will be something that we continue to work on over the next several sessions. We do have a little buffer, a little bit of time to work with before it becomes that critical time of just that 40-hour week threshold.”

During that time, Elsey says they need to hear from the workers …

ELSEY … “Really, I think it’s incumbent upon the worker to say, ‘wait, I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want my hours cut.’ Because, really, the folks who pushed that phase-in were the labor organizations that say they represent the employee.”

So, Elsey says it will be important to hear from everyone involved …

ELSEY … “In order to be successful and to allow those workers to have these harvest hours back, it’s going to have to be a lift not only on the employers side, but also the employees side.”

The 12-weeks requested, Elsey says, is reasonable …

ELSEY … “In comparison with the other states, almost all of which have some sort of seasonality component, 12-weeks was a very reasonable offer. It, in no way, completely fixes the harvest issue for farmers, but it would allow some slight grace period.”

Listen tomorrow for more on the future of ag overtime … and a seasonality exemption.

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