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Bob Larson Piece Rate SCOW Ruling Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: June 05, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Many in the ag sector are interpreting a recent Washington state Supreme Court decision as another case of legislating from the bench.

The Washington Policy Center’s Madi Clark says the Carranza Vs. Dovex ruling is a major setback for piece-rate pay as they follow the messaging from special interest groups.

She says somebody should ask the farm workers what they think …

CLARK … “You talk to the workers and 90 to 95 percent of them like the piece-rate system because they have flexibility, they can work at their pace, they can make more money on a piece-rate system. And, when you put them on an hourly system it kind of gets difficult. And then, I’ve heard from growers, they’re like ‘we can work with this’ so it’s going to be interesting to see how well they work with it, but we make it more and more challenging to pay workers for efficiency and reward the best, hardest workers, it’s going to be more and more difficult to preserve that relationship between the farmer and the farm worker.”

Clark says it’s a slippery slope and hard to correct if we go down that road …

CLARK … “I think Washington state is doing a really good job, unfortunately, to go down that path and more and more they’re siding against ag employers as if they are the enemy, but that relationship both sides are needed just as much as the other side. So, you put the farmer out of business and you no longer have jobs for the farm workers or you make it too costly to have farm workers and they’re just going to adopt mechanization.”

Clark says one solution would be placing at least three judges on the court, instead of just one, from eastern and more rural parts of the state in order to give them better representation.

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