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Sat Mar 27, 2021, 05:08 AM

Oregon Legislature debates extending overtime pay to farmworkers

Much of the work at Blue Heron Farm happens in bursts.

Willy Dinsdale, co-owner of the farm located just outside Salem, described how on days when the spring rains let up, crews will venture into the fields to plant Christmas trees.

A 150 horsepower tractor pulls a tree transplanter that will insert the seedlings into the soil, he said. Three workers for each row walk behind the machine to make sure that the trees don’t go in at a bad angle. With a narrow window to get the trees planted, he said crews work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a half-hour lunch and breaks.

He’s now preparing for another narrow window to plant 70 acres of strawberries that’ll also involve long work days.

Dinsdale is now worried about a bill advancing in the Oregon Legislature that, if passed, he said would cause him to drastically rethink what crops he plants and the hours his employees work. He said he “panicked” when he first heard about it.

Read more: https://www.salemreporter.com/posts/3890/oregon-legislature-debates-extending-overtime-pay-to-farmworkers

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