Hazelnuts are great, but we'd hate to see a glut on the market because of our state's labor policies.
Why is that a concern?
As this article from January 9, 2018 Capital Press points out, farmers are more and more being forced to turn to crops that are easily mechanized to cut labor costs. This article focuses on the impact of minimum wage laws on farmers, but other factors such as the state's new sick leave law and pressure from union activists also weigh into this.
Already, as we show on this website, farmworkers receive on average in the state about $18 per hour, so you might think what is the concern? That pay is based on production incentives and what this means is that farmers are required to pay more for the least productive workers. The costs, as the article points out, can be significant.
But it is those seeking jobs who are hurt the worst by this. Mechanization means hiring fewer workers. Planting hazelnuts instead of apples means hiring fewer workers. Apple picking robots (yes, several are working on them) means hiring fewer workers. This does not help the approximately 11 million workers in the US who do not have the legal paperwork and it doesn't help the 200,000 or so workers from Mexico who currently come for good paying farm work on H2A or guest worker visas.