No blueberry wage hike for now, judge sides with Selah’s Zirkle Fruit Co.
RICHLAND, Wash. — A federal judge blocked the Department of Labor from imposing a 50 percent wage hike for Zirkle blueberry pickers Thursday.
Zirkle was issued a mandate on July 24 to boost wages for H-2A blueberry pickers from 50 cents to 75 cents per pound.
According to the lawsuit, “This unilateral, midseason 50 percent wage hike will likely result in Zirkle declining to harvest significant amounts of blueberries, which will put hundreds of farm workers out of work, and will likely eliminate hand-picking from its 2020 production.”
Zirkle sued in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington saying it would come at an estimated extra cost of $1.4 million.
The injunction will remain in effect until it is permanently lifted or the case is resolved at trial.