WA Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Farmworkers

Posted by Sean P. CecilJul 20, 20150 Comments

The Supreme Court of Washington State issued a ruling last week that "piece-rate" farmworkers are entitled to compensation during rest breaks. The decision was issued at the request of the federal court as part of an ongoing wage dispute between farm workers and Sakuma Brothers Farms, a large Washington berry producer. 

This is a huge victory for farmworkers who otherwise would not get paid at all for time when they do not work. Washington State regulations require employers to cover the cost of 10-minute rest breaks every four hours for all workers in all industries. Farming is no exception.So called piece-rate workers are paid based upon the volume of work they complete rather than on an hourly basis; the workers had sued under the federal minimum-wage laws complaining that they unfairly remained unpaid during the state-mandated rest breaks. 

Here is a link to the full (unanimous) opinion.