In 2020 Oregon farmworkers made, on average, less than $20,000 a year. Their hard work supports our entire economy and puts food on our tables. They deserve to be paid for every hour of their essential, difficult, and often dangerous work.
All workers should be treated with respect and dignity. Our fellow agricultural workers do the hard work needed to provide food for our tables yet they have been excluded from protections received by most workers. For example, although many agricultural workers are now eligible for social security benefits, they were not eligible when social security was first established in 1935. Although federal protections for overtime work were first created in 1938, agricultural workers in most states still are not covered by these protections, even though most other workers are covered by overtime protections in federal and state laws.
With HB 4002, the Oregon Legislature has the opportunity to do right by our state’s agricultural workers. In 2020, Oregon farmworkers made, on average, less than $20,000 a year. However, their hard work supports our entire economy and puts food on our tables, and they deserve to be paid for every hour of their essential, difficult, and often dangerous work. Not only does this bill advance economic justice, but it also advances racial justice and civil rights because Latinx workers make up a disproportionate part of the agricultural worker community in Oregon. Other states have overtime protections for farmworkers, and Oregon should join these states in mandating fair and just pay for our fellow Oregonians who help feed our communities and support the economic vitality of our state through farm work.