“Farmworkers need changes to Washington state’s new farming overtime law right away to help them boost their paychecks, as has been proposed in the state legislature with Senate Bill 5476.
Watching today’s state Senate Labor & Commerce Committee hearing on the bill, it was deeply disappointing that despite the hardship the new overtime law has caused tens of thousands of farmworkers, some activist groups are instead opposing these changes needed to bring immediate relief for workers.
We’re troubled to see that even after nearly 300 workers rallied for change at the state Capitol just last week, the extreme activist groups today refused again to acknowledge the burden the new law has placed on farmworkers.
On top of sidestepping workers’ concerns, in their remarks the groups actually accused the hundreds of farmworkers who rallied at the Capitol of being misled and not understanding what’s best for their families.
The activists’ accusations are offensive, and their denial of real farmworkers’ hardships as a result of the new law is insulting.
We hope the lawmakers considering this important proposal to help farmworkers can see through the false accusations of these activist groups, who appear to be unwilling to admit their role in pushing for the very rules now devastating so many hardworking families across Washington state.”
UPCOMING EVENT: Hundreds of Farm Workers Expected to Gather on Thursday, Jan. 25 at WA State Capitol to Speak Out on Problems with New State Ag Overtime Law
Event comes after nearly 1,000 farm workers gathered in series of events across state voicing frustration with new law causing significant decrease in take-home pay
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Hundreds of farmworkers are expected to gather outside the Washington State Capitol in Olympia Thursday, Jan. 25, holding a rally to speak out about the harm the state’s new overtime law for farm work is causing them, including lower-income and less time at home with family.
The new law has resulted in a significant loss of take-home pay for farmworkers in Washington, echoing the findings of a Cal Berkeley study on impacts of California’s similar change in agricultural wage laws. Coupled with the rapid increase in the cost of living, overtime restrictions are deeply harming workers’ economic situations here in Washington state as well.
The phase-in of overtime pay requirements for agricultural work in Washington state reduced work hours for farm workers. Farms already face thin margins and are making changes to try to stay in business despite skyrocketing costs and stagnant prices for their crops.
Nearly 1,000 farmworkers gathered at events across eastern Washington to speak out on this issue, and they say they will continue to gather and voice their frustration until leaders in Olympia make changes to allow them to make more money.
Thursday’s event at the state Capitol’s north steps will feature several speakers sharing how the new law is affecting them, providing information about the evolving issue and giving workers an opportunity to have their perspective heard. Speakers include:
Numerous videos of farm workers speaking out about this issue are availalbe on Protect Farm Workers Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Protect Farm Workers Now is a project of Save Family Farming, a 501(c)5 non-profit advocating for the Washington farming community, and is collaborating on this effort with the Center for Latino Leadership, a 503(c)3 non-profit promoting bipartisan conversation and collaboration on the issues that truly matter to Washington state’s Latino community. Visit centerforlatinoleaders.org