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Thursday, September 24, 2015

FirstFruits NEWS - September 2015 Issue

FirstFruits NEWS

September 2015 Issue

"A Quality Fruit Company Committed To Bearing Fruit...Fruit That Will Last" (John 15:16)

Changes to Contract Pay        

In July of this year, the Washington Supreme Court issued a ruling requiring employers to provide paid rest breaks to piece-rate workers.  Given this, Broetje Orchards will be changing the way in which we manage our teams and how we compensate during piece rate work.
While we realize that in the past many of you have chosen to pick through breaks during contract work, starting immediately supervisors will require all members of their team to take a break.  It may not be your preference, but this is what the law now requires of employer and employee.
Additionally, checks during piece-rate will look different.  Employees will see that 'work' hours have been reduced by the number of rest breaks taken during the pay period.  Breaks will be listed on their paychecks as 'Paid Rest Period'.
For those working during contract pay, please remember when reviewing your check that:
'Work Hour' rates are simply a calculation to show the hourly equivalent for your contracted work.
'Paid Rest Period' is what we as employer paid to you for the breaks that you took while working on contract. 
Employees will have different rates due to the fact that your compensation is based on you piece rate work.
If you have any questions related to this change, please speak to your immediate supervisor who will be happy to answer your questions

Predicting Market Trends
From meeting with buyers about retail space to making sure we have the fruit ready to be shipped to the supermarkets, there is a lot of different moving parts to ensure that customers receive the highest quality fruit.
This month, here is how our team at First Fruits Marketing is working to provide apples from this year's harvest: 
Keith Matthews: "Retailers plan in advance for everything they do, in order to display our fruit into their stores; we need to plan and be ready 6-8 weeks in advance. So that means we are estimating the volume of the harvest and the time of packing so that we are ready to sell when the fruit is packed."
Matt Miles: "We traveled to Northern California to meet with some of our buyers and review the agreements that we have worked on in the previous years and discuss what they could expect from First Fruits and the 2015-2016 crop year. "

Season Changing 

The earth was created with everything we need in order to flourish. But in order for the earth to care for human needs, we must realize that the earth also depends on us to care for it in order to give its life-giving gifts to us. Here at Broetje Orchards we know how to take care of our place so that our place can take care of us! No time of year expresses that more clearly than harvest time. It's 'all hands on deck' as we prepare to bring in the harvest........the physical fruit of all our labor during the year.
When we invest in careful, loving attention to a tree, we help it to produce its best fruit. People are kind of like trees in that when we pay attention to each other with a loving eye, we too feel energy growing in our spirits. We begin to dream of ways we too can produce good fruit from our lives to share with our community.
Here at Broetje, we count on each other to bring our good gifts and skills to the workplace in order to bring in the harvest that sustains us for another year, and allows us to stand with vulnerable people and communities in other places. This is the way we care for the earth together, and find that our own needs are met as well. Thanks to everyone for the unique gifts you each bring to this fantastic team who together bears fruit, fruit that will last.

Summer Internship Review 
Walking 50 feet above the ground and balancing on a horizontal telephone pole, is not the normal task for an average intern. But, this year's cohort of summer interns at Broetje Orchards were given the task to face this exact challenge in order to learn more about overcoming obstacles in their own lives. The 2015 Interns were tasked with many challenges that one would not normally expect for a summer job: reading a book on success for teens, building bridges out of straws, and encouraging one another to make the leap off a zip line platform.
The Internship Program was an opportunity for 16-17 year old students to learn and grow in the workplace at Broetje Orchards, but it also provided additional learning experiences to prepare students for life after high school. They completed the 6-week summer internship program which combined real-life, full-time work experience with sessions where students learned more about leadership, the value of agricultural work, the power of making positive decisions, and the importance of having relationships with caring adults.  

Anti-Harassment Training

Broetje Orchards continually strives to provide training to its supervisors and managers.  Throughout the year we offer in-house training as well as training from outside sources who can truly make an impact on how our staff can better manage. 
This past July, fifty four staff members from different departments attended a anti-harassment training. 
The goal was to train the staff on how to recognize harassment in the workplace, understand what constitutes harassment under the law as well as provide hands on practice in real life scenarios.  Our goal as a company is to provide a work environment where employees can feel good about coming to work without fear of being harass because of their gender, religion, age, or any other legally protected characteristic. If you have been a victim of harassment, please contact the HR department immediately.

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