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Bob Larson Piece Rate Senate Bill
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: March 02, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A bill to help clarify how Washington growers pay piece-rate workers is making its way through the Senate.

The bill passed through the rules committee last week …

JUDY WARNICK … “We had a bill come through our committee, I believe it’s 5720, it’s Senator Hawkins’ bill, and it’s regarding piece-rate work. So, in the past the orchardist paid workers by the piece-rate. If you get a bundle or a basket of apples, you get paid this much and depending on how much you can do in a day, there’s been a lawsuit on that in the Sakuma decision.”

Moses Lake Senator Juday Warnick says the bill will get a second reading on the floor, but it’s unclear how it will be met …

JUDY WARNICK … “So, we’re trying to help, not only the workers who want to maintain that piece-rate formula, but protect those orchardists and farmers who are being sued because they are not adequately, according to the lawsuit, adequately paying lunch and break time. So, not getting a lot of support moving that bill forward. We did get it out of committee, but we’re not getting people to even come negotiate that bill from the labor side so it’s very very disappointing.”

Supporters say the bill provides clarity for both employers and workers. Critics say the bill gives employers a loophole to avoid legal claims against them.

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