portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights | labor

Update on HB 2351, the anti-farmworker bill

Report from Wednesday morning hearing about anti-farmworker bill
After a hearing this morning (Wednesday) before the Oregon House
Business, Labor and Consumer Affairs Committee, HB
2351 (the racist anti-farmworker bill) has been
referred to a work group chaired by Rep. Betsy Close.
This is according to Matt from Rep. Diane Rosenbaum's
office, who assures me that Rep. Rosenbaum is VERY
much against this bill. So, this bill is not dead and
has not yet been passed out of committee, which means
that the committee members still need to hear from us!


I have included a letter I wrote as a sample you can
use (but please don't just copy it verbatim, change a
few words here and there so it doesn't look like an
e-mail form letter.) I am also including the e-mail
addresses of the entire committee in a cut-and-paste
format, followed by full contact information for all
of them. It won't take that long to make a few phone
calls about this, and Rep. Close in particular should
be getting some major grief about this bill, since she
is a big immigrant-basher and the author of some other
bad anti-immigrant bills this session (including one
that would require US citizenship or green card to get
a drivers license and one that would involve local
police in immigration enforcement).

I would also suggest copying your e-mail to your own
rep (you can find out who this is at
 http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/findset.htm)
and blind-copying the farmworkers' union
( farmworkerunion@pcun.org) so that they know the
community is behind them. If Rep. Rosenbaum is your
rep, please thank her for her opposition and urge her
to keep standing firm.



===========

Here's the e-mail addresses to send it to:
 rep.betsyclose@state.or.us,
 rep.marygallegos@state.or.us,
 rep.billgarrard@state.or.us,
 rep.derrickkitts@state.or.us,
 rep.jeffmerkley@state.or.us,
 rep.dianerosenbaum@state.or.us,
 rep.mikeschaufler@state.or.us

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Members of the Oregon House Business, Labor and
Consumer Affairs Committee: I regret that I was not
able to be present at this morning's hearing on HB
2351. Please accept these written comments as my
testimony on this bill. I have copied my own
representative to alert her to my grave concerns about
this bill.

HB 2351, the supposed "Collective Bargaining" bill for
farmworkers, is blantantly anti-farmworker and will
only serve growers' interests. This bill would
severely limit the ability of farmworkers to organize
or defend their rights. It includes such provisions as
an anti-strike clause, outlaws secondary boycotts, and
requires a mandatory waiting period before a union
election, which, in agriculture, could mean that the
harvest ends before an election is held. It also calls
for the election of a "volunteer" Agricultural Labor
Relations Board, making what should be a neutral body
open to political manipulation.

Farmworkers are the lowest-paid and most exploited
members of the work force, and ALREADY are exempt from
most of the laws protecting the civil rights that
other workers take for granted. Farmworkers need MORE
protections of their rights, not attacks on their
ability to organize. Instead of this ill-conceived and
racist HB 2351, I urge your support for progressive
legislation that has been introduced in the Oregon
Senate (SB 263 and 264), which would extend meal
period and rest period breaks to farmworkers, as well
as eligibility for overtime pay.

HB 2351 is a particularly egregious example of the
immigrant-bashing legislation that has been introduced
this session. You need to understand that the working
people of Oregon stand in solidarity with immigrant
workers, and we will not tolerate ANY attacks on
immigrants' rights. I urge a decisive NO vote on HB
2351 in committee.

Sincerely,
[your name]

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE BUSINESS, LABOR AND
CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (Oregon State House of
Representatives)

Close, Betsy L, Chair ,  rep.betsyclose@state.or.us,
503-986-1415

Gallegos, Mary , Member ,
 rep.marygallegos@state.or.us, 503-986-1429

Garrard, Bill , Member ,  rep.billgarrard@state.or.us,
503-986-1456

Kitts, Derrick , Vice-Chair ,
 rep.derrickkitts@state.or.us, 503-986-1430

Merkley, Jeff , Member ,  rep.jeffmerkley@state.or.us,
503-986-1447

Rosenbaum, Diane , Vice-Chair ,
 rep.dianerosenbaum@state.or.us, 503-986-1442

Schaufler, Mike , Member ,
 rep.mikeschaufler@state.or.us, 503-986-1448