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Anti-farmworker bill coming to floor for a vote in Oregon statehouse

April 21, 2005
PCUN Legislative Update
Members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed HB 3258 - an anti-farmworker collective bargaining bill - out of committee yesterday in a 6-1 vote.
PCUN is calling on all supporters to contact key members of the House Democratic Caucus to urge them to reject this bill. A floor vote in the full Oregon House is expected next week.

Background:

Introduced at the request of the Oregon Farm Bureau and Oregon Association of Nurseries, HB 3258 would place farmworker collective bargaining under the Employment Relations Board (ERB), a state agency handling public employee unionization. The ERB has no capacity, expertise or funding to take on such a critical responsibility. HB 3258 also does not take into consideration the seasonal nature of farm labor, and does not include key provisions articulated by PCUN and supported by Oregon Governor Kulongoski, including mandatory binding arbitration of first contracts.

PCUN President Ramon Ramirez stated, "I find it ironic that growers are introducing this bill and say they are in favor of collective bargaining when this law will never give workers a contract." According to a report submitted by the ERB to the Oregon AFL-CIO, it typically takes 79 days for an election to be certified, well after most seasonal crops have been harvested and workers have left the area.

Sample e-mail and contact info follow:

Dear Representative,

I urge you to vote against HB 3258 when it comes up for a floor vote. I support the principles of a fair and effective collective bargaining law for farmworkers, including mandatory binding arbitration of first contracts, "card-check" elections, employer neutrality, no restrictions on the right to strike, and adequate resources for enforcement. HB 3258 fulfills none of these principles and will never give farmworkers a contract.

Instead, it puts farmworker collective bargaining under the Employment Relations Board, which has no capacity, expertise or funding to take on such a critical responsibility.

Please support Oregon's farmworkers and vote against HB 3258.

Sincerely,

(Your name and address)

Contact Info:

Rep. Deborah Boone (D-Cannon Beach), 503-986-1432,  rep.deborahboone@state.or.us

Rep. Mark Hass (D-Raleigh Hills), 503-986-1427,  rep.markhass@state.or.us

Rep. Greg Macpherson (D-Lake Oswego/SW Portland), 503-986-1438,  rep.gregmacpherson@state.or.us

Rep. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), 503-986-1409,  rep.arnieroblan@state.or.us

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