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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - August 02, 2007)

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Mr. HARE. Mr. Chairman, I rise to engage our respected chairwoman of the House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee in a colloquy to raise an issue of importance to a group of struggling workers in the almond industry. At issue is whether a company or cooperative should continue to be funded through the Market Access Program in light of being found guilty of labor violations here at home.

During a recent organizing drive, Blue Diamond Growers, a past recipient of these MAP funds, was found guilty by the National Labor Relations Board of more than 20 labor law violations, including firings. These were serious offenses.

Would the gentlewoman agree with me that the Secretary of Agriculture has the authority to deny serious labor lawbreakers taxpayer funds which are distributed from the Market Access Program?

Ms. DeLAURO. If the gentleman would yield, I, too, am concerned about treatment of workers at Blue Diamond Growers. I'm aware that the Secretary of Agriculture has the discretion to deny funding to a coop if it is in the best interest of the program. I further note that USDA regulations require that MAP participants adhere to the laws and customs abroad when they hire foreign workers to market their product. We'll work with you on this critical issue of real importance to our workers.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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