Sunnyside Farm Sued for Firings, Replacing With ‘Cheaper’ Workers
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Wednesday a Sunnyside mushroom farm is being sued over multiple accusations of discrimination and other issues.
Ostrom Farms accused of firing workers, replacing with 'cheaper' H2A Staff
Ferguson's report says Ostrom, between 2021 and 2022, fired nearly 80 percent of their mostly female experience workforce in order to save money.
The operation is accused of misusing the Federal government's H2A worker program, which allows the use of temporary foreign labor. That enabled them to get workers with less 'rights' and who are less expensive.
The H2A program is only to be used IF a business or industry can prove they are going to experience a shortage of domestic staff. Ferguson says the company deliberately pressured the existing workers to quit.
The AG report indicates the company allegedly amped up production and productivity requirements to sometimes unattainable levels, then fired the women when they failed to meet them. It also says Ostrom staff used intimidation to scare others into quitting.
The report says Ostrom fired 140 experienced female workers and replaced them with 65 H2A employees, 63 of them men. H2A workers do not have the same rights as domestic workers, and studies and government data shows they usually cannot command the same wage levels and more experienced employees.
According to their website, Ostrom supplies many consumers and stores in WA, OR, Alaska, and Hawaii.
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