Hot Farmworker Story

Hot Farmworker Story

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A state Senator and fifth-generation wheat farmer is voicing his criticism of a Seattle Times story, on heat rules for farmworkers, that he says lacked balance.

Senator Mark Schoesler is disappointed the article offers quotes from union officials and government officials but nothing from farmers or ag groups, and that, he says, is not good journalism …

SCHOESLER … “In a real story, you would ask a general ag group like the Farm Bureau or the Tree Fruit Association, or even individual growers, that’s how you do a real story.”

The Ritzville Republican says the story makes farmers look stupid, unresponsive, like they didn’t care about their farmworkers’ health and wellbeing …

SCHOESLER … “These growers value their workers. Workers are in short supply and if you don’t treat them well, they leave.”

Schoesler says farmers take steps on their own to help employees deal with hot working conditions …

SCHOESLER … “They’ve done a lot of innovative things, working in the early morning hours, providing shade, water, and these workers area hard working and they’re intelligent people with good common sense.”

He says these farmers and growers don’t need the heavy hand of Gov. Inslee and The Department of Labor and Industries …

SCHOESLER … “Let’s follow the rules we have and practice good journalism.”

Schoesler says Friday’s one-sided article was about Washington state’s preparation to impose emergency rules that provide farmworkers more protection from heat-related illnesses.

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