Paper Mill Bill Dies – But Not Without a Fight.

February 16th, 2012 by dlombardi

Earlier this week, state legislators passed up a chance to address our state’s continuing jobs crisis by killing legislation (HB4142) that could have protected family wage jobs at Oregon’s paper mills.  The major opposition to this legislation came from paper industry giant, Georgia Pacific, which just happens to be owned by none-other than the Koch brothers.

Yes, those Koch brothers.

We certainly didn’t go out without a fight, as folks from around the state loudly and clearly voiced support for this bill over the past two weeks.  All told, almost 1,500 Oregonians signed a petition to the House Business and Labor Committee urging them to support HB4142 for jobs and the environment.

Despite overwhelming support from the public; five of the eight members of the House Business and Labor Committee – including both committee Co-Chairs; the Co-Speaker of the House; Oregon’s environmental community and pulp and paper workers — multi-national corporate interests prevailed in killing this legislation with behind closed door pressure.  In fact, the bill never saw a public vote.

We are truly dissapointed that family wage jobs fell victim to pressure from out-of-state corporations who care more about their bottom line than Oregon’s working families.  But, this issue doesn’t die along with this bill.  We’ll keep you updated as we plan our next steps to protect family wage green jobs and fight for sensible recycling policies in Oregon.

In the meantime, take a moment to look at the press were able to get regarding this issue:

  • Portland Tribune: Pressing the Paper Industry
  • The Oregonian Op-Ed: Paper mills in peril: Powerful forces sink plan to help save Oregon jobs
  • The Oregonian: Oregon’s 2012 Legislature approaches its halfway mark: What bills are dead, which have a chance?
  • Newberg Graphic: Bill would have been boon to flagging paper industry (Subscription needed – PDF version)
  • Jefferson Exchange Radio: Green Jobs Legislation
  • The Oregonian LTE: Jobs Legislation
  • NW Labor Press: Oregon Legislature closes 2012 session after small-scale reforms
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