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Strange Bedfellows

How Paul Holvey’s performance in the 2023 Session places him on the same side as La Mota and the Koch Brothers.

To address ambiguities around federal labor law with respect to the cannabis industry, HB 3183 was introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session in order to ensure that cannabis workers would have the kind of workplace organizing protections enjoyed by most other industries.

The only opposition from actual industry stakeholders was from the attorney of La Mota, the troubled cannabis company that contracted with Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.

Despite a number of workers actively facing hazardous working conditions, questions around pay, and retaliation for unionization activities, Representative Paul Holvey refused to pass the bill out of the Business and Labor Committee that he chairs. (The bill was co-sponsored by every other Democrat on the Committee, and so clearly would have had the requisite number of votes in favor had Holvey wanted to move it.)

After the bill was extracted from Holvey's committee and sent to the House Rules Committee (as a last-ditch effort to avoid upcoming deadlines), Rep. Paul Holvey circulated a flawed legal memo from Legislative Counsel that indicated that the State of Oregon could not impose labor standards on private industry in most circumstances. UFCW Local 555 responded with a memo pointing out the factual inaccuracies in Holvey's memo, but Holvey nevertheless posted his memo into the public record without regard for its accuracy.

Anti-labor organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and the Reason Foundation (both supported by Koch brothers) seized on the opportunity to set such a precedent and urged Legislative leaders to conform to the memo and kill the bill, which they did.

Paul Holvey's haste to stop workers from getting organizing rights led to a terrible anti-labor precedent and played right into the Koch Brothers' hands.


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