Tuesday, December 05, 2006

OFB president warns of national implications from union deal

BEND, Ore. — Good farm policies for agriculture should have positive solutions for the entire industry, and not just respond to the difficulties faced by a single farm, stressed Oregon Farm Bureau president Barry Bushue.

In his main speech to the annual state Farm Bureau meeting held Dec. 5 in Bend, Ore., Bushue bluntly expressed his disappointment about the recent memorandum of agreement made between Threemile Canyon Farms and United Farm Workers.

He also warned harshly that the deal would have far-reaching consequences.

“I fear frankly that Oregon’s farm workers and farmers are being used as pawns in a much larger chess game at the national level to create a poster child for federal legislation, which would negate an existing secret ballot process for millions of workers in many other industries around the nation.”

Bushue blames Ted Kulongoski for the situation, but also said he hopes and prays that the governor doesn’t believe this agreement signed by only one farm and the union should become the standard for collective bargaining in the agricultural sector.

“Threemile Canyon is anything but your typical Oregon farm. It is a very large corporate entity with an enormous work force. They have been brow beaten into submission, This process has and will continue to incur huge costs for this farm financially, politically, in the market place and within the industry,” he told Farm Bureau delegates.

“It seems very unlikely that any farm in Oregon has the financial strength and access to legal and other experts to withstand such an assault.”

Bushue urged that there should be a secret ballot election process to protect the farm workers as well as the employers, and said that coercion does not lead to a good agreement or serve anyone’s interests if this becomes public policy.

(To see more on Bushue's speech, see www.capitalpress.com)

Capital Press
Oregon Farm Bureau
United Farm Workers

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