Flower World owner refuses to pay state fine; offers 99 page rebuttal

SNOHOMISH, Wash. — The owner of Flower World plant nursery said he is refusing to pay a $4,200 fine after Washington Labor & Industries cited him after he ordered his employees not to wear masks.

John Postema told KIRO 7 he knows this is one fight that flowers cannot smooth over.

“This is a good legal situation, so we’ll have fun with it,” he joked.

The proud nursery owner insisted the state won't be getting a penny from him.

Instead, they received a 99 page rebuttal.

“We did fine from the beginning,” he said, referring to Flower World’s social distancing procedures. “We did not have any disease, no sickness. And that’s part of the presentation (in the rebuttal).”

From the start of Covid-19, Postema insisted it’s unsafe for his workers to wear masks inside Flower World’s scorching greenhouses.

He said masks make it hard for employees to breath easily, especially as they do heavy lifting in a hot environment.

In the aftermath of this week's fine, though, he said employees are now masked up, at least for the time being, adding that two employees have already quit in protest over wearing masks.

“We had to tell our people to wear a mask--- and now it’s a much more dangerous place than before,” he told KIRO 7 News.

In a June 23rd interview, Washington Labor & Industries disagreed; insisting it's not Postema's right to decide on Coronavirus safety measures.

“I think it’s important for people to know the word ‘requirement.’ They’re not voluntary. Workplaces don’t get to pick and choose which workplace requirements they follow, and which ones they don’t,” said Tim Church, Washington L&I

Postema, though, said he’s prepared to appeal his fine all the way to the top. Until that happens, he’s insisted he’s not paying.

“This is representation without the people involved,” he said, referring to the rules instituted by Governor Inslee.