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News Release
Agricultural Organizations Respond to Ag Overtime Lawsuit - 12/01/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2021

Agricultural Organizations Respond to Ag Overtime Lawsuit

The agricultural community is disappointed with the lawsuit filed yesterday by the Oregon Law Center regarding agricultural overtime. The lawsuit is an appalling attempt to circumvent the legislative process by seeking to expand a 2017 manufacturing overtime bill well beyond what was intended by the legislature. 

We have been participating in a legislative workgroup in good faith to discuss the nuances of proposals to extend overtime to agriculture. The impacts of this proposal are complex due to the nature of Oregon’s agricultural economy, the needs of employees, and the seasonal nature of agricultural work. These considerations are presently being discussed by legislators and the workgroup, and this lawsuit undermines those good faith discussions. 

Oregon’s family farms are suffering under the cumulative weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, market and shipping disruptions, and the growing cost of doing business in Oregon. We care deeply about the health and welfare of our employees and pay among the highest wages for agricultural production in the world. However, our farms compete in a global marketplace and are price takers, meaning that they are unable to pass along any price increases in their operations to consumers. These factors make agricultural overtime discussions complex, as well-intentioned policies could have significant impacts on farm viability and availability of agricultural work. 

The 2017 manufacturing overtime bill was never intended to expand overtime pay to agriculture, and we are confident that the Court will uphold the intent of the legislature. We will be seeking to engage in the lawsuit to protect the integrity of the legislative process. 

Oregon Farm Bureau Federation
Oregon Association of Nurseries 
Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers
Oregon Wine Council
Oregon Winegrowers Association 
Associated Oregon Hazelnut Industries
Oregon Seed Council
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association 
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association 
Oregon Sheep Growers Association

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