Md. Crab Processors Concerned Over Federal Wage Rule - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Crab Processors Concerned Over Federal Wage Rule

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- The owners of many crab picking houses on Maryland's mid-shore are worried about their future after the U.S. Department of Labor issued an order to raised the hourly pay of workers in the state from $7.24 to $9.24.

The goal of this pay hike is to attract more Americans to this kind of work, which is currently occupied by foreign workers who come to the United States on a visa to work for the crab season.

Many crab houses say they have trouble finding Americans to work for them anyway.

"In the last 10 years I've had five American people apply for the job and nobody showed up for a job interview," said Bryan Hall, vice president of G.W. Hall & Son Seafood out of Fishing Creek.

For many picking houses the pay increase may put them out of business, as many are struggling to make ends meet as it is. If they can't afford to pay for the workers, then that means many people who depend on the picking houses could go out of business as well.

"It's all eliminated," said Robin Hall, co-owner of G.W. Hall & Son Seafood.

With costs for employees going up that price is eventually expected to be passed off to the end consumer. The pay increase is expected to go into effect on Sept. 30. The Hall brothers said they already had a contract with the Labor Department to pay their employees $7.24 through the end of December, but it appears that contract will be broken at the end of the month.

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