"Rest break, bonus pay still disputed in Washington"
Dan Wheat, Capital Press
While we gradually become familiar with the world of production through Ecotrust’s Market Research, there is another parallel universe we must get to know: that of the laborer. This article highlights the conflicting and sometimes contradictory issues faced by farm workers as they advocate for living wage and safe working conditions.
Many farm workers are paid by piece rate (quantity harvested) rather than by hourly rate. While legal precedent has established paid rest regardless of wage type, Washington State is still ambiguous whether or not piece rate farm workers should be paid minimum wage during breaks. For this reason, hourly wages and planned bonuses are easier to regulate, but some farmworkers prefer piece rate – fast workers can often make more through piece rate than hourly rate wages. Both sides recognize a need for education and compromise on the part of both stakeholders, but the outcome is still unclear.
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