Op-Ed: Are farmworker advocates ignoring actual farmworkers?

This past fall, nearly 1,000 farm workers attended a series of public rallies where many of them voiced deep concern with shrinking paychecks resulting from Washington state’s new agricultural overtime law.

Hundreds more have spoken similar frustrations with the unintended consequences of the new law in video interviews gathered primarily in orchards and at farm worker housing across the state.

But just weeks later, professional activists Andrea Schmidt and Edgar Franks, who represent themselves as championing the cause of farmworkers, said not a single word about the workers’ plight when called on to speak to a work session of the state Senate Agriculture Committee.

Many Washington farmworkers say they’re currently looking for second and third jobs to make up for the money they’ve lost, due to farms reducing work hours to comply with the new overtime rules while avoiding bankruptcy.

The silence on this problem raises troubling questions about these advocates’ credibility in speaking on
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