LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Gov. Signs Bill Providing Transparency in Wage Data for Farmworkers

March 25, 2024

OLYMPIA – Today, Washington took a step towards ensuring fair treatment and compensation for farmworkers with the signing of House Bill 2226. Introduced by Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, the bill addresses concerns about wage suppression in the H-2A guest worker program, which has seen a 1,000% increase in participation since 2008.

HB 2226 focuses on transparency. It requires the Employment Security Department to gather accurate worker counts during inspections and conduct comprehensive wage surveys directly with farmworkers. This empowers workers, helps identify potential program abuses, and ensures employers follow the rules. Additionally, reports comparing requested and actual worker numbers will inform policymakers and allow for data-driven decisions to combat wage suppression.

“Exploiting farmworkers and depressing wages is a historical practice that remains a reality for many in our agricultural communities today” said Rep. Ortiz-Self. “By ensuring more accurate data collection, we can advocate for fairer wages for our farmworkers.”

House Bill 2226 takes effect ninety days after adjournment of the 2024 legislative session.

Learn more here.