Dear Agricultural Employer:
Tand agricultural employees in Maine. Dates and times are listed below. These listening sessions have been organized by the Farm Employer Subcommittee of the Agricultural Workers Minimum Wage Committee. Please see the attached AWMWC Subcommittee.pdf for more information about the sub-committee. The Subcommittee invites all viewpoints from participating Farm Employers.
These listening sessions aim to request the following input from Farm Employers about:
- Whether they support future legislation making minimum wage applicable to agricultural workers.
- Provide ideas or suggestions about how to apply minimum wage to agricultural workers.
- If comfortable sharing the information, whether the Farm Employer currently pays the state minimum wage of $13.80.
These meetings are intended only for Farm Employers and are not open to the general public. They will not be recorded, and minutes will not be taken. Although the Subcommittee will report back to the full Committee about the general feedback, themes, and information shared at the meetings, all comments will be anonymized and not attributed to individuals.
The meetings will be held in person ( with a hybrid option ) at the following dates and times:
- Wednesday, November 1, 2023, from 4 – 6 pm, University of Maine Machias (Science building, room 102 ).
- Monday, November 6, 2023, from 3-5 pm, Maine Potato Board office, Presque Isle
- Wednesday, November 8, 2023, from 1-3 pm, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Deering Room 101.
ABOUT THE AGRICULTURAL WORKERS MINIMUM WAGE COMMITTEE:
The Committee was created by Governor Mills’ Executive Order 1 FY 23/24 after vetoing LD 328, An Act to Make Agricultural Workers and Other Related Workers Employees Under Wage and Hour Laws. A copy of the Executive Order is attached. The Committee has been charged with developing legislation for introduction in the second session of the 131st Legislature that will implement a minimum wage for agricultural workers, identify the impacts the bill will have through other laws interconnected with Federal and State wage and hour laws, and ensure the full range of impacts are thoroughly understood by both agricultural employers and their workers.
To date, the Committee has held four meetings. The Committee website includes a list of members, recordings of those meetings, and all meeting materials. These meetings have focused on what employment requirements would be unaffected by agricultural workers being subject to existing minimum wage law (eg, workers compensation, etc.) and what could change (such as recordkeeping requirements and having maximum overtime hours) if the existing minimum wage law is extended to agricultural workers. For more information about the committee’s work to date CLICK HERE.
Hearing directly from the farming community is an essential part of the Committee’s work. Two subcommittees were formed to conduct listening sessions: the Farm Employer Subcommittee and the Farm Worker Subcommittee. The Farm Worker listening sessions are being organized, and information regarding times and dates will be shared separately for dissemination to interested Farm Workers.
These meetings are intended to be a respectful and safe space for perspectives to be shared. We ask that Farm Employers attend the Farm Employer listening sessions only and vice versa for Farm Workers.
We hope you will share this information about the upcoming listening sessions with your Farm Employer colleagues. To make sure we have enough room at the in-person meetings, please let the member of the Subcommittee reaching out to you with this email know if you plan to attend.
Farm Employer Subcommittee Members:
Heath Miller, Maine Dairy Industry Association
Jeannie Tapley, Maine Potato Board
Penny Jordan, Maine Farm Bureau
Eric Venturini, Wild Blueberry Commission
Holi Francis, Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Co.
Nancy McBrady, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry