Good Fruit Grower

May 1

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Page 4 of 47 Good Fruit Grower MAY 1, 2015 5 First Bite Casey Corr, Managing Editor Encouraging signs on the labor front I t's not a contest. Ask fruit growers to name their biggest challenges and labor is always on the list. A grower must find and train good people, must find ways to get seasonal workers to return, and must navigate burdensome, often confusing labor regulations. And that's not counting a recent variant of the labor problem. When dock workers at West Coast ports slowed down shipping for months, that created havoc in the supply chain and clobbered growers who needed foreign sales to help absorb the biggest-ever apple crop. In this issue, we look for answers. We dive in to labor issues with a strong package of reports by editors Geraldine Warner, Richard Lehnert, and Melissa Hansen. We'd like to report that Congress is poised to change immigration laws and solve many of the biggest labor challenges. But we can't. For now, Congress remains gridlocked on that issue. We do report promising signs on other fronts of greater help for employers navigating H-2A regulations, of innovative programs to share H-2A workers, and of attractive ideas to attract and retain valued employees. As an example, the Washington Growers League, which typically focuses on labor management, worker safety, and other legislative and regulatory changes, is exploring ways to help growers cooperatively provide child care. For many parents, a lack of child care keeps them from the workplace. That's all positive, but labor remains a challenge. The H-2A program remains fraught with places where an employer can take a misstep, even when taking care to follow the rules. In at least one instance, the regulators themselves were not following the rules. In a recent case, a federal agency seemed more keen on issuing press releases than getting facts. A judge blistered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for bringing a "frivolous" case against two Washington State growers and ordered the agency to reimburse the employers for the cost to defend themselves. If I can be permitted to editorialize here, government should be a partner, not a problem, for growers. 509/662-6931 1261 Ringold Rd., PO Box 300 • Eltopia, WA 99330 We ship nationwide, so please call for price and availability! Time TO PLAN! • 2016 Sleepy Eyes • 2018 Tree Needs PAUL TVERGYAK 509-669-0689 CONTRACTS for 2015 and beyond! Custom Contracted Apple, Pear, Cherry & Peach Trees ✔TOP QUALITY ✔VIRUS TESTED ✔VERY COMPETITIVE PRICING HIGHEST QUALITY FRUIT TREES ! Call for: • TREES • ROOTSTOCK • INTERSTEMS • BENCH GRAFTS • SLEEPING EYES • ROYALTIES 120 N. Naches Avenue | Yakima, WA 98901 | 509.853.3000 1420 Fifth Avenue | Suite 3000 | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.626.6000 At Stokes Lawrence Velikanje Moore & Shore, we take the time to understand what's important to you. We have decades of experience working with agricultural clients and deep knowledge of the business and legal issues they face. Let's reach your goals together. Realizing Your Vision Estate/Succession Planning George Velikanje Garon Jones Ellen Jackson Business/Real Estate Morrie Shore Dustin Yeager Charissa Johnston Litigation/Employment Brendan Monahan Sarah Wixson Sean Russel Andre Penalver

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