Shortage of Farm Worker Becoming More Intense
The shortage of farm workers in Eastern Washington could become even more intense with a recent state supreme court ruling. The number of fruit pickers is currently down by a third. That comes as the state supreme court recently upheld a law that would fine employers $500 for any mistake made on farm worker’s employment forms. The law is meant to keep employers from hiring undocumented workers, but farmers say it will dissuade them from hiring pickers causing an even greater shortage. Yakima grower John Verbrugge tells our news partner KIMA Action News farmers are now paying about 30% more to attract fruit pickers. They say the new law will do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigrants in the state.