WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2013 – The 1.4 million-member Teamsters Union weighed in Friday in favor of Senate provisions in the farm bill, urging conferees to “reject the severe cuts” to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the House bill and dropping previous opposition to the “supply management” part of the Senate’s dairy reform language.

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa also urged rejoining nutrition and commodity titles in order “to rely on the stability of the traditional five-year reset of American agricultural policy.”

He cited the interests of union members in dairy, bakery, brewery and food processing facilities in endorsing $900 million in the Senate bill for rural energy programs that create jobs and in opposing any language that would delay USDA country-of-origin labeling for meat. “COOL is an important element of ‘fair trade’ – always a Teamster high priority – and its implementation without further delay is important to consumers here and abroad,” Hoffa wrote the conferees.

Saying that 35,000 members work in the dairy supply chain, he said Teamsters “support the Senate version in its entirety, including its market stabilization provisions.” He said that the Senate approach will cost substantially less than the House version.

The Teamsters previously had objected to the dairy language during House committee markup and floor debate out of concern that supplies of milk to processors could dry up under a supply management regime, “undermining our members’ job security.” The change in position, he wrote, came from understanding that “the contractual obligations that the dairy co-ops have with processors require them to deliver the milk in full, regardless of the stabilization provisions. That is, if the co-ops don’t have enough milk, for whatever reason, they must procure product on their own to meet the contracts.”


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