Pickers at Washington state berry farm approve contract

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) - As harvest time approaches, unionized pickers have reached a contract with the biggest berry farm in a northwestern Washington state county.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports  that the union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, voted Thursday to approve a tentative agreement reached last weekend with Sakuma Brothers Farms in Skagit County.

Union President Ramon Torres says the contract guarantees the pickers a minimum wage of $12 per hour for work in the fields, but targets an average wage of $15 an hour with some incentives for faster picking.

The contract also lays out a process for conflict resolution, something the workers have never had before. Torres says that will give the workers more protection from being fired.

The company agreed to allow union representation of workers last September after years of labor unrest.

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