Gov. Inslee Signs Bill Protecting Farms and Jobs
Labor Activists Once Again Claim Victory After Being Defeated
Governor Inslee signed the farmworker protection bill, 5172, and received the congratulations from President Biden as this statement from the White House shows.
This bill does indeed protect farmworkers from the farm and job destroying demands of labor leaders.
They are now claiming victory even though their effort to get three years back pay was resoundingly defeated! The UFW did the same when they walked away from a ten year old lawsuit with absolutely nothing: Victory!
The bill did include a multi-year phase-in for overtime pay for farmworkers, and this is what prompted the president's praise. But, if you watch the videos below or take the time to talk to farmworkers you will see this may be a win (in the face a bigger defeat) for labor leaders, but it is a big loss for farmworkers. Will lawmakers listen to farmworkers and what helps them, or will they continue to pretend that labor leaders represent the interests of farmworkers when this bill showed so clearly they don't.
Governor Inslee signed a bill that provides protection for farmers and farmworkers against three years retroactive pay and the class action lawsuits that were making these unfair demands. The nearly 40 lawsuits against farmers stemmed from a Supreme Court decision that said dairy farmworkers need to be paid overtime. When Senator King proposed Senate Bill 5172 it was to protect farmers against these lawsuits and their demands. Hundreds of farmworkers spoke up explaining how these demands would destroy their jobs. Labor activists fought against this and through their mouthpiece, Senator Saldana, they amended the bill to demand three years back pay for overtime for all farmworkers, plus 12% interest. If that had passed it would have destroyed most farms in the state and with that most of the 100,000 plus farmworker jobs.
Farmworkers and farmers spoke out against it, and the Senate and then House overwhelmingly rejected the effort by labor leaders to destroy farms and jobs.
How do they call this a success? Because the bill included the provision to require overtime for all farmworkers phased in over several years. In the fight to force farmers to pay backpay for overtime, the labor activists and their legislative allies demonstrated they have no interest in what farmworkers want or what is in their best interests. If you care, watch the videos and see them speak for themselves.
Now, the question will be whether our lawmakers will listen to labor leaders who show no regard for the best interests of workers, or the workers themselves. Workers have repeatedly explained how requiring overtime will cause them to lose pay, will make their lives more difficult and complicated, and force them to find second jobs. THEY DON'T WANT IT. If you question that, we encourage you to talk to them.
Labor activists are fighting for political agendas harmful to farms and workers. Lawmakers in this bill showed when pressed they will ignore the demands of labor leaders when it harms those they say they are trying to help. We fully expect on the issue of overtime, they will do the same.
FARMWORKERS THANK LEGISLATORS FOR HELPING SAVE JOBS.
NOW ASK THEM TO HELP SAVE THEIR PAY.
We are farmworkers. We are over 100,000 strong in Washington.
Farm labor leaders are hurting us. They said we wanted back pay for overtime. Not true. We want our jobs, not back pay. Thanks to our lawmakers for listening to us and not the labor leaders and lawyers.
Now, we need them to listen to us on overtime pay during the harvest season. Labor leaders either don't care about us or don't understand what we want. We want to work the long hours farm works needs. And we want the pay that comes with it.
We don't want to have to find other jobs during the off season, and we don't want to have to find second jobs during the season.
We know that farm labor leaders don't listen to us. But, we now know that lawmakers will. Our voice will be heard!
By passing legislation to protect farms against unfair litigation and demands for retroactive overtime pay, Washington lawmakers have saved our jobs. We are deeply grateful.
This may be the first time that lawmakers have seen that labor leaders are not looking out for the workers they claim to represent. After all, as the video below shows, labor leaders and lawyers combined to try to pass legislation that would have destroyed tens of thousands of our jobs.
Now lawmakers must also hear from farmworkers on issues of overtime pay.
The bill, 5172, that protect farms and jobs included a requirement for paying workers overtime. That sounds fair and that's the way labor leaders sold it. But, it hurts us. Hurts us bad. It will reduce our pay or make it much more difficult for us to earn the same amount of pay.
Farmers can't afford overtime
Demanding overtime assumes that farmers can just absorb the extra cost or that the work doesn't need to be done. Farmers can't afford it because the cost of farming in Washington is already higher than most other areas largely because of how much farmers pay us workers. We are not complaining about the fact that we get paid more for doing our jobs than workers in any other state. But, we know that farmers can't just raise prices for apples, milk, potatoes or whatever. The prices are set for them by buyers who have many, many choices. Mexican farmers, for example, who pay a minimum wage of 79 cents per hour, are gaining ground rapidly over our farmers.
Farm work is not like other work
Also, farm work doesn't stop after 40 hours. Fruit can't wait to be picked, hay can't wait to be baled, potatoes can't wait to be harvested. It's just not like other work and labor leaders, who have jobs in offices or at home where they can quit after putting in their time don't seem to understand that. That means if farmers can't pay the time and a half over time, they have to find more workers. Maybe that will be easier in the future, but now we farmworkers are in high demand so that makes it harder for farmers to get the workers they need to harvest crops.
We want to work more hours
Farmworkers know that farming is not a 9 to 5 job. Farm work is seasonal and that means we make the money we need for our families in less than a full year. This allows us to take time off in off season. But, if we cannot earn what we earn now by working longer hours, then we will have to find other jobs when farm work is done. That is hard and will change how we live our lives. We ask why? Why disrupt our lives just because labor leaders say it is what we want. They don't know what we want.
To earn the same amount we have to get two jobs
With farmers having to pay overtime according to the new law, we will be sent out of the fields after 40 hours. If we want to earn the same pay as we are now, we have to get a second job. Maybe we can go to another farmer who needs to hire more workers because he or she too has to send workers out of the fields. But, that is a nuisance for us, creates a transportation headache, reduces the time we can spend harvesting, and makes much more paperwork for farmers. And why? Just because labor leaders want to get a "win" politically.
Lawmakers showed they will listen to us
Labor leaders are showing they either don't understand about farm work or don't care about us farmworkers. That's what lawmakers need to understand. That's what farmworkers are going to be doing now. We know lawmakers will listen. Protecting our jobs is one example. Now, they need to protect our pay.
Farmworkers and farm owners: Please listen to us on overtime
Attention labor advocates, activists and lawmakers:
Please take the time to listen to us farmworkers.
You may think you are helping us by demanding we be paid overtime. But, it is actually hurting us very much! Much of our work is seasonal, not year round. Farm owners can't afford overtime and that means they limit our hours. We want to work extra hours during the busy seasons to provide for our families and pay our bills. Please give us flexibility. We don't want to lose our jobs and don't want our pay limited by your "help."
Supreme Court Justices show unbelievable ignorance of the facts about farmworkers--and deeply offensive prejudice.
READ THE DETAILED FACT CHECK OF THE JUDGES' CONCURRING OPINION
On January 28 Senator Karen Keiser, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on SB5172 which would end the lawsuits and protect farmers agains the demands for three years back pay.
Over 550 farmers, farm workers and supporters asked to speak. Their message: without action on this bill, our farms will die and our jobs will be lost.
Union leaders and labor lawyers spoke against protecting farms. Now, they are demanding that farmworkers be paid overtime even during the seasonal harvest time. Farmers can't afford to pay overtime so more workers must go home after 40 hours. It means large pay cuts. Life will get harder, not easier for farmworkers.
We are guest workers. This year about 20,000 of us came from Mexico to work in the orchards and fields of Washington's farms. These jobs change our lives. Life is hard in Mexico. Here we can earn what we need to take care of our families, build houses, send our kids to college, buy businesses and farms.
Please hear our stories. Then help us keep our jobs.
Please hear our stories. Then help us keep our jobs.
Anti-guest worker activists are harming not just workers, but consumers too
Those trying to keep guest workers from having these high value jobs are hurting more than workers and farmers. We are now importing 20% of our food with major increases in food illnesses and pesticide residue. One big reason is the huge gap between what our farmers pay for labor vs. foreign farmers. Our farmers pay 20 times more than foreign competitors and our farmers are losing out. If you care about safe food made in Washington and want to make sure that farm workers are well paid protected, then help us spread the word. More on this important subject here.
Facts about farm workers and the Guest worker program may surprise you
Some facts about Washington's farm workers and why the H2A guest worker program is so popular among workers.
protecting worker's rights starts with protecting the right to a great job
More facts about guest worker pay, living conditions, benefits, etc.
Union activists are hurting the very workers who they say they
Activistas sindicales estan perjudicando a los mismos trabajadores que ellos dicen tratar de ayudar.
Protecting the human rights of farmworkers is very important. Those rights include the right to earn necessary income for their families. Farmworkers need to be treated with respect and dignity, they need to be protected against abuse and harm. The good news this protection exists. It's because the professionalism and responsible action of the vast majority of farmers, combined with some of the most stringent worker protection rules anywhere.
Union activists, motivated by the need to generate union dues, are accusing farmers of horrible abuses. Even accusing farmers of causing the death of a worker. The facts will show that it is not the farmers abusing these workers, but those who say they are trying to help them.
Es muy importante el proteger los derechos humanos de los trabajadores agrícolas. Estos derechos incluye el derecho de ganar ingreso necesario para sus familias. Trabajadores agrícolas necesitan que se les trate con respecto y dignidad, necesitan que se les proteja contra abuso y perjuicio. La buena noticia es que esta protección existe. Y esto es debido al profesionalismo y actos de responsabilidad de la mayoría de los granjeros, combinado con algunas de las leyes más estrictas de protección del trabajador en cualquier sitio. Activistas sindicales, motivados por la necesidad de generar cuotas para el sindicato, están acusando a granjeros de abusos horribles. Incluso acusan a granjeros de causar la muerte de un trabajador. Los hechos muestran que no son los granjeros abusando de estos trabajadores, pero son aquellos que dicen que los están tratando de ayudar.