Media and farming organizations continue to cover the harm that the proposed housing requirements would cause to fruit harvests in Washington state.
There are “workable solutions in the form of increased access to … PPE” that exist, says the Washington Policy Center, but “cutting the labor force in half … while also forcing additional operating costs on those same employers is foolhardy.”
Capital Press was told that the state Department of Labor and Industries was aware that the rules would reduce the number of workers that would be available for harvest, but hadn’t attempted to calculate the extent of the reduction.
The Lens further said that reducing the number of temporary workers would be a “season-ending result” for many farmers who are already struggling to meet payroll.
The proposed regulations were introduced on April 23, and the comment period remains open until Monday, April 27. The rules, if adopted, are scheduled to go into effect May 1. They would prevent about 25,000 farm workers from working.