PORTLAND, Ore. — April 2, 2021 — Ecotrust is proud to join the powerful and diverse coalition of advocates that endorse Oregon House Bill 2358. HB 2358 would guarantee access to overtime pay for Oregon’s approximately 174,000 farmworkers, an estimated 90 percent of whom come from Latin America. Farm work is critical to our society and economy, yet farm workers continue to be low paid and excluded from protections like overtime pay. HB 2358 is an important step towards improving farmworkers’ economic security and addressing a legacy of racist labor policies that continue to have real impacts today.
In 1938, the Federal Labor Standards Act excluded farmworkers from federal overtime protections. At the time, this targeted the 85 percent of southern African Americans who were farmworkers. Today, this racist exclusion persists, impacting the mostly Latinx farmworker workforce. States including California, Washington, and New York have addressed the injustice within the FLSA by passing overtime pay guarantees for farmworkers. Now it is time for Oregon take the important and necessary step of addressing this racist legacy and extending overtime pay to these essential workers.