Home Back Issues September 2007 Farm union pact doesn’t end debate

Farm union pact doesn’t end debate

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007

DairyCows.jpg BOARDMAN Oregon’s largest dairy farm has struck a collective-bargaining deal with United Farm Workers, marking the state’s first large-scale farm unionization. The three-year agreement for the 250 dairy workers at Threemile Canyon Farms includes a 7.5% salary increase over three years, family medical benefits, a pension plan and double the previous vacation time, according to Erik Nicholson, director of the guest worker program at UFW.

Tim Bernasek of the Oregon Farm Bureau says the Threemile deal raises more questions than answers for Oregon’s 150,000 agriculture workers. “It doesn’t get at the central issue,” says Bernasek.

Like most states, Oregon has no regulations governing the process of unionizing farms. The agreement marks a historic deal — but for Threemile only, according to Len Bergstein, spokesman for the farm, which is in Boardman and produces 160,000 gallons of milk every day. “Nothing has been solved for the rest of agriculture.”

Threemile and UFW arrived at the deal in mid-July after weathering four years of negotiations. UFW began unionizing efforts in 2003 when dairy workers cited poor working conditions and low pay.

During negotiations, UFW went to some of Threemile’s clients including the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which buys two-thirds of Threemile’s milk, urging them to help grease the negotiation process.

The farm bureau’s Bernasek claims the UFW went a “backwards” route by approaching the farm’s customers rather than “winning the hearts and minds of the workers” to gain union recognition and settle a collective-bargaining agreement.

A system without rules stating the rights of farm workers or union protocol for organizing farms is “ripe for intimidation,” Bergstein says. “We’re in the wild, wild West.”  

EUNICE LEE

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

Report Card

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS