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https://www.capitalpress.com/ag_sectors/orchards_nuts_vines/h--a-minimum-wage-hearing-set-for-jan/article_17798332-181b-11e9-8149-7b312f71ab2e.html?utm_source=Capital+Press&utm_campaign=b494dd1d61-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_28_07_26_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3bfe2c1612-b494dd1d61-234246233#utm_source=daily_update&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Flists%2Fdaily-update%2F&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline


H-2A minimum wage hearing set for Jan. 28

by Dan Wheat, Capital Press 1/14/19

A U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., has set a Jan. 28 hearing on arguments about a preliminary injunction to halt increases in the minimum wage for H-2A-visa foreign guestworkers that took effect Jan. 9.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly will hear arguments at 2 p.m. on Jan. 28, said Michael Marsh, president and CEO of the National Council for Agricultural Employers in Washington, D.C.

NCAE and Peri & Sons Farms, Yerington, Nev., filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor on Jan. 7 seeking to stop increases for 2019 they say are arbitrary, unsubstantiated and will cause irreparable harm to many farms.

The Department of Justice is representing DOL in opposing a preliminary injunction.

The increases average 6.3 percent nationwide and are 22.8 percent in Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Peri & Sons, a fresh-market vegetable farm that employed 1,768 H-2A workers in 2018, estimates the 2019 increase will cost it about $3.7 million, threatening its viability.

The H-2A minimum wage, known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, or AEWR, has gone from $10.69 per hour to $13.13 per hour in those states.

It has increased from $14.12 to $15.03 in Washington and Oregon, the highest in the nation, and affects a lot of Washington growers, mostly in tree fruit, who hired 24,862 H-2A workers in 2018.

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