Agriculture, Oregon, Salem

Farmworkers plead for overtime pay as ag industry warns of harmful impacts

Emotional and passionate testimony stretched into the night Tuesday during a legislative hearing on a proposal to require overtime pay for Oregon’s farmworkers.

Legislation put forward by two Democratic lawmakers would pay farmworkers time and a half after working 40 hours a week and would include tax credits for companies to help them adjust. Overtime pay would be phased in over five years, with the tax credits extending a year longer. Farmers who’ve been on their land for generations said House Bill 4002 would not be good for Oregon agriculture and could cause farms to fold, with large out-of-state companies swooping in to buy them.

Farmworkers speaking in Spanish who’ve worked in fields for decades said they toil long hours, sometimes in harsh weather, and . . .

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