Friday, September 24, 2021


New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.


The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Farmworkers Could Get Overtime Pay Under WA Bill


Friday, March 26, 2021   

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state farmworkers could be poised to receive overtime pay under a measure in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5172 would phase in, starting with overtime pay for more than 55 hours of work per week in 2022 and would be completely implemented for more than 40 hours of work in 2024.

Marciano Sanchez, union organizer with Familias Unidas por la Justicia, said people work as much as 80 hours per week, sometimes for minimum wage, and come home exhausted.

"Especially having to work in the summer when temperatures get to 100 degrees sometimes," said Sanchez. "People aren't supposed to be out there 10 to 12 hours a day working that kind of conditions."

Senate Bill 5172 originally was designed to protect farmers from liability for paying farmworkers because of a state Supreme Court decision that ruled denying agricultural laborers overtime was unconstitutional. As a compromise, lawmakers have agreed to phase in overtime pay on farms.

The bill is scheduled for an executive session today in the House Committee on Labor and Workplace Standards.

Joe Kendo, government affairs director with the Washington State Labor Council, said agriculture workers were excluded from overtime protections in federal law during New Deal negotiations, and the exclusion has racist roots.

Southern states wanted to carve out these workers because most of them were Black. Kendo noted that the bill isn't just about putting farmworkers on equal footing with other workers.

"It really is, fundamentally, I think, a health and safety and public-health issue as much as it is a wage-equity issue," said Kendo.

Farmers opposed to the bill have argued it will be hard to pay overtime wages because farms work on tight margins and it could mean they have to cut workers' hours.

There are about 100,000 farmworkers in Washington state.

get more stories like this via email

The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …

Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…

According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …


SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. (JP Photography/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021