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Too bad you left info out of article

To the editor:

Ed Merriman's article "Group Calls for ‘Fair' Vote on Union for Feedlot Workers" (June 30, 2008) mischaracterized Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's (EMO's) position on the labor issues at Beef Northwest.

In my conversation with the Herald, I emphasized that while EMO is in a listening mode, we do support the right of workers to organize and determine whether they desire union representation in a fair and non-intimidating environment. We are also encouraging all parties to come to the bargaining table, including owners, management and the union, as we believe that the solution to most disputes comes when all parties can work together jointly. We are also supportive of the efforts Governor Kulongoski has made to bring all parties together, and we encourage him to continue his support for the long term legislation needed to address the unique issues of agricultural labor in Oregon.

As I also mentioned to the Herald, the process and vote to unionize at ThreeMile Canyon Farms and Willow Creek Dairy may be good models to use at Beef Northwest. These two agreements speak volumes to the challenges faced by agriculture workers in our region, and offer solutions that can benefit both workers and management. It is unfortunate that this information was left out of your article, as well as my stating that our goal is to support development of the most just, equitable and sustainable agricultural system possible, which means that workers and their representatives be fully included in the collective bargaining process.

David Leslie

Executive Director

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon



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