President Biden congratulates Washington on passing farm worker overtime pay law :: Cascadia Advocate of NPI
Today in Yakima, Gov. Jay Inslee signed several critically important worker protection bills, one of which is intended to help Washingtonians working in the agriculture industry earn the overtime pay they need. ‘they deserve. A few minutes ago, the action of Inslee’s bill earned Washington state a congratulatory statement from none other than the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
Here is Biden’s statement in full:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2021
Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in support of the Washington State Overtime Bill for farm workers
I commend the Washington State Legislature and Governor Jay Inslee for signing Bill SB 5172, the Washington Farm Worker Overtime Bill, which will help more than 100,000 farm workers earn the overtime pay they deserve.
Farm workers in Washington and across the country have helped our country through this pandemic – working long hours, often at great personal risk, to meet the needs of their communities and keep America healthy and well nourished.
These overtime protections will ensure that agricultural workers in Washington are paid for all the essential work they do.
For too long – and in large part due to unwarranted racial exclusions put in place generations ago – agricultural workers have been denied some of the most basic rights long enjoyed by workers in almost every country. other sectors, including the right to forty hours. work week and overtime pay. I was proud to stand with farm workers during the Obama-Biden administration, when California passed the nation’s first farm worker overtime bill, and I am proud to support farm workers in Washington State today.
It is high time that we put all American farm workers on an equal footing with the rest of our national workforce when it comes to their basic rights – and I urge Congress to pass HR 1177, the law. on citizenship and the modernization of the agricultural workforce. Take action so that we can extend these rights to agricultural workers in all fifty states.
It is not often that the President of the United States issues a statement weighing on the passage of a law at the state level. As Biden’s comments make clear, this question really, really matters to him. And that’s a big thank you to Washington State, which has long worked to strengthen its labor laws.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a new emphasis on the challenges facing frontline workers,” Inslee told Yakima on Tuesday.
“They brought our state through one of our most difficult times, facing personal difficulties and challenges.”
“The bills I am signing today represent an acknowledgment of the lessons we have learned and offer hope for a stronger path.”
In addition to SB 5172, the governor also signed:
- HB 1097, sponsored by Representative Mike Sells [and requested by Governor Inslee’s office], helps address these concerns by protecting workers who report workplace hazards.
- SB 5115, sponsored by Senator Karen Keizer, will help protect high-risk workers, ensure workers know when they have been exposed to an infectious disease, and make it easier for frontline workers to receive compensation. they are infected on the job.
- SB 5190, sponsored by Senator Jeff Holy, discusses specific conditions for healthcare workers to use UI benefits if they quit their job in quarantine during a public health emergency and have clear access to it. compensation of workers if they are exposed to infectious or contagious disease which is subject to a public health emergency.
- SB 5396, sponsored by Senator Liz Lovelett, encourages the development of new community housing for agricultural workers, providing more workers with safe and affordable housing.
Thanks to Governor Inslee’s staff for the above invoice descriptions.
SB 5172 is bipartite legislation; its main sponsor is Republican Senator Curtis King, and all of its original cosponsors were Republicans.
The bill won the support of all Democratic senators in the state when it was finally passed, as well as most Republicans.
Only a few Republican senators opposed it.
They were Mark Schoesler, Mike Padden, Shelley Short, Jeff Wilson, Sharon Brown and Perry Dozier. Schoesler, Brown and Short were all cosponsors of the original bill introduced by Senator King, but sadly when the revised bill went to ground action they refused to support the surrogate.
In the House, the bill won the support of ninety-one out of ninety-eight MPs. As in the Senate, only Republicans opposed it, including Republican activist Doug Sutherland, one of the most extreme members of the legislature.
The bill uses a phased and phased approach to overtime pay. It stipulates that agricultural employees are entitled to overtime as follows:
- Effective January 1, 2022, no farm employee will be employed more than fifty-five hours per work week unless the farm employee receives one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over fifty-five hours a week of work;
- Effective January 1, 2023, no farm employee will be employed for more than forty-eight hours in a work week unless the farm employee receives one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty-eight hours in a work week;
- and effective January 1, 2024, no farm employee will be employed for more than forty hours per work week unless the farm employee receives one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked more than forty hours in the same work week.
(The summaries above are taken from the final report on the bill written by non-partisan staff.)
Our NPI team is delighted to see this important package of worker protection bills signed into law. We are proud of all the great work that Rep. Mike Sells and Senator Karen Keizer have done to get us to this point. It is particularly pleasant to see this victory for worker protection recognized by the White House. Bow down, Washington State activists! Our state offered workers another victory today.