Ag Overtime Progress Pt 1

Ag Overtime Progress Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. This session of the state legislature continues, but the writing is on the wall for a few bills the ag industry was hoping to move.

Jon DeVaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, says the overtime bill allowing a 12-week exemption on the 40-hour limit, has gained more attention this year …

DeVANEY … “We had a hearing this year on that bill, on February 9th in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. Where most of the witnesses present were farm workers and the vast majority of witnesses were in favor of the flexibility in overtime.”

That testimony, DeVaney says helpful …

DeVANEY … “Those farm worker witnesses really did testify that they were seeing a loss of available hours to work. And so, rather than seeing a windfall of new income from time-and-a-half overtime, they were seeing fewer hours.”

And, for good reason …

DeVANEY … “Because those are just costs that farmers cannot pass on to the end customer, especially when they’re competing farms producing the same crops in other states are seeing those overtime costs offset through their tax code.”

DeVaney believes the message resonated …

DeVANEY … “We have not seen the bill move forward this session, but we’ve had a number of legislators in both parties say that there’s an increased recognition that there is an issue that needs to be discussed and addressed at some point, which is a lot of progress.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on legislative progress for ag overtime.

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