On Thursday of last week, Governor John Kitzhaber vetoed the anti-farmworker collective bargaining bill, HB 4025. In his message, he said; "Despite decades of disagreement, misunderstanding, and a lack of trust, I appreciate the recent efforts by labor and the agricultural industry to address these issues. Those groups have made progress by taking the time to gain an understanding of common interests and working together to develop a framework to resolve issues. Yet, HB 4025 threatens that process because it would immediately implement, through an emergency clause, collective bargaining provisions with no rules in place, nor the necessary resources and personnel to provide an effective process for farm workers and employers." |
At the same time, the agricultural industry is preparing another attempt to pass anti-farmworker legislation at the next special session in June. In fact, we've heard rumors that the Republican leadership in considering holding up a possible tax increase unless their anti-farmworker bill is passed (for those of you not in Oregon, the State faces large budgetary shortfalls, social programs and education in particular are being gutted as a result). In addition, one of the largest agricultural interest groups, the Oregon Association of Nurserymen [sic] hired the current Speaker of the House as their public affairs director. As the column that appeared in the Oregonian, included below very articulately states, many politicians are for sale, but they usually have time to hide the receipt....