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Bob Larson H-2A Labor Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: December 03, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. It’s been a growing part of the seasonal worker landscape in the Pacific Northwest since 2007 and the increasing demand for H-2A workers has kept WAFLA busy ever since.

Executive Director Dan Fazio says it’s a fine balance between being mindful of the domestic workforce and filling holes with foreign labor through the H-2A program …

FAZIO … “Our idea is that we should use this program to get labor parody. And, you know, I’ve heard growers that are in the H-2A program say, ‘if you’re not in the H-2A program you should send a thank you note to the grower across the street who’s using the program because they’re bringing in the workers to allow the existing domestic workforce to be able to other employers. It’s a short way of saying that we all know the competition for workers is what’s going to drive your wages higher and so, if we could have labor parody that would be what we’re interested in.”

Speaking at the Small Fruit Conference in Lynden last week, Fazio says there are those who don’t appreciate the work WAFLA does …

FAZIO … “Activists who claim to represent workers have openly called for an end to the program, but H-2A workers don’t want it to end. So, that’s their problem That’s their disconnect. That’s their cross to bear, if you will. And so, this is Farmworker Justice which is a national firm in Washington D.C. that says that they represent farmworkers and we’ve been lobbying to make the changes to the H-2A program to make it more usable and they don’t like that, you know, is their comment from their Twitter feed.”

Listen tomorrow for more on the seasonal labor divide in Northwest agriculture.

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