Given the unfounded accusations and strong efforts to unfairly punish the farming community made by Columbia Legal Services and other attorney groups in the most recent legislative session, one wonders if the settlement reached in this case reflects the reality that farmers and farmworker face.
We don’t know the facts of the case, such as questions about whether or not the farmers violated existing laws in how they treated and paid their employees. We do know that these supposed farmworker advocates have done great damage to the farming community.
The Washington Supreme Court decision requiring dairy worker overtime pay has caused many to quit their dairy jobs and go to work for other farmers not having to pay overtime. That’s because they want to work the extra hours.
These groups also argued strongly for requiring all farmers to pay three years retroactive pay which would have eliminated most of the 100,000 plus farm jobs in our state. It appears they prefer our food to be harvested completely by mechanical means, or perhaps they don’t want farms in Washington at all?
How much of the $1.6 million taken from this former farm goes to farmworkers vs how much goes to lawyers? We should be asking the question: Who really benefits from these lawsuits?