LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Farmworker Transparency Bill Advances to Senate

OLYMPIA – Today, Washington lawmakers moved closer to ensuring fair treatment and just compensation for the vital farmworker community with the House passage of House Bill 2226. Introduced by Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), this bill tackles concerns about wage suppression and exploitation in the H-2A guest worker program.

The H-2A program’s rapid growth (1,000% since 2008) raises worries about local wage depression. HB 2226 seeks transparency by mandating the Employment Security Department (ESD) to collect accurate worker counts at worksites during field visits.

Recognizing the importance of reliable data, HB 2226 also introduces comprehensive wage surveys directly with farmworkers. This empowers workers and ensures accurate data collection by identifying potential program abuses and ensuring employers follow rules.

Further transparency comes through quarterly reports comparing requested and actual worker numbers. These reports will inform policymakers and enable data-driven decisions to combat wage suppression.

‘This bill is a step forward,” said Representative Ortiz-Self. “Washington is taking action to combat exploitation and ensure fair wages for our farmworkers.”

House Bill 2226 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.