Washington Supreme Court: Farmworkers To Get Overtime Pay

SEATTLE (AP) – A divided Washington Supreme Court says the state’s dairy workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday extends overtime protections for the first time into Washington state’s agriculture sector, and its reasoning is expected to apply to other farmworkers as well.

For the past 60 years, state law has exempted farmworkers from classes of workers who are entitled to overtime, but the court found that unconstitutional as applied in the dairy industry.

Dairies say it will mean vastly increased labor costs and could prompt more to turn to robotics.

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