Big Wage Hike for Blueberry Pickers Blocked – For Now

Big Wage Hike for Blueberry Pickers Blocked – For Now

According to multiple reports, U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. has put a temporary stop on a 50% wage hike for blueberry pickers at Zirkle Fruit in Selah, WA.

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In August, the fruit company sued to block the new wage structure.

“(T)his unilateral, mid-season 50% wage hike will likely result in Zirkle declining to harvest significant amounts of blueberries, which will put hundreds of farmworkers out of work, and will likely eliminate hand-picking from its 2020 production,” the company said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges the government approved the original 50-cent pay rate through Zirkle’s H-2A application.

While the wage increase is temporarily postponed, the Yakima Herald reports the company must deposit the difference between the original and new wages and taxes in a trust account. The company also is required to secure names and permanent addresses of employees in case the wage hike is upheld.