SALEM, Ore. – Today the Oregon House passed a union-backed agriculture overtime bill championed by Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) and Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) that will result in job losses and pay cuts for farm workers.
HB 4002 B was rushed through during the 35-day short session and passed the House today on party lines. The vote followed a motion from House Republicans to send the bill back to committee. This attempt narrowly failed initially 27 – 32, with bipartisan opposition to this flawed bill and support for a true Oregon solution.
House Democrats, led by the Representatives from Lake Oswego suburbs and Eugene, were emboldened by the threat of an overtime rule from the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries if legislation failed this session. The majority turned down every alternative proposal from Republicans, including an amendment to guarantee increased pay to farm workers for extra hours worked with a $50 million grant. The Democrats’ bill instead includes tax breaks for large, out-of-state corporate farms.
“This legislation is a loss for Oregon,” said House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “We had an opportunity to find an Oregon solution that caters to our state’s diverse agriculture industry, protecting both farm employees and farm owners. Instead the majority’s failed leadership passed a bill that will cut employee hours and wages while expediting the automation of farm work.”
“Legislators from both sides of the aisle have stated on the record: this proposal will result in job losses for farm workers,” added Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles). “There is no appropriate justification for taking jobs away from Oregonians trying to put food on their families’ tables.”
“There is no doubt we will need to fix this legislation in 2023 to save farm employee jobs,” said Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany). “First we will need more balance in the Legislature and a majority that stands up to partisan special interests. We must put people above politics.”