Rising Labor Costs Will Make CA Non-Competitive

Rising Labor Costs Will Make CA Non-Competitive

June 7, 2017

Increased Labor Costs Take Toll

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

The new labor laws are going to become a big problem for California’s agriculture in the near future. California Ag Today recently met with Alex Ott, who is the Executive Director of the California Apple Commission and the California Blueberry Commission. He also manages the California Olive Committee. Ott spoke with us about the growing concern that farmers in these industries have about rising labor costs in California.

Alex Ott

“Well, there is the overtime provision, which cuts our field work back from 10 hours to eight hours. That's difficult,” Ott said. In order for employers to not pay overtime, their employees will have to work two separate shifts to get a day's work finished instead of getting a day's duties done in one shift. This ultimately cuts hours for workers, far from their benefit.

The minimum wage increase will have a huge negative impact on California growers and all of those that they employ. With an increase in minimum wage, employers will have to pay more for the same work.

“The problem there is obviously increased cost, but now, not only are we competing against the world, but competing against other states that produce the exact same type of crop,” Ott said.

“Employers will have to pay employees higher wages and deal with retailers not giving higher prices. Employers have to compete with states that have lower wages and have their overtime provisions as well.”