FORUM WORKING CONDITIONS FOR FOREST WORKERS University of Oregon

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FORUM WORKING CONDITIONS FOR FOREST WORKERS University of Oregon Powered By Docstoc
					                FORUM

WORKING CONDITIONS FOR FOREST WORKERS
        University of Oregon

 Len Casanova Center, Pittman Room

           Eugene, Oregon
             Wednesday

         January 31, 2007

             1:30 p.m.




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                        INDEX


Agenda Item                                   Page

Forum objectives, process, and ground rules
Maia Enzer, Sustainable Northwest                   4
Welcome and opening remarks
Linda Brady, Senior Vice President and              9
    Provost, University of Oregon

Overview of working conditions and situation
Cassandra Moseley, Director, Ecosystem       12
    Workforce Program, University of Oregon

Opening remarks
Mark Rey, Under Secretary for Natural          20
    Resources and the Environment
Alex Passantino, Deputy Administrator,         25
    Wage and Hour Division, Department
    of Labor
Forest Service and Department of Labor
Overview of Progress to Date
Ron Hooper, Director Acquisition               34
    Management, US Forest Service
Anthony Perrou, Sacramento District            52
    Director, Wage and Hour Division,
    Department of Labor

Public Comment Period                          78

Closing Remarks
Alex Passantino, Deputy Administrator,        138
    Wage and Hour Division, Department
    Of Labor
Mark Rey, Under Secretary for Natural         140
    Resources and the Environment




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 1   JANUARY 31, 2007         WEDNESDAY       1:30 P.M.

 2                   MS. ENZER:   Welcome to the Forum
 3   on Working Conditions for Forest Workers.     My

 4   name, as I said before, is Maia Enzer.    I'm the

 5   policy program director at Sustainable
 6   Northwest, which is a regional nonprofit

 7   organization that's dedicated to working with

 8   communities and enterprises to achieve economic,
 9   ecological, and community vitality and

10   resilience.   My goal today is to facilitate the
11   event and to ensure that we move through the

12   agenda in a timely manner.

13                   On behalf of the sponsoring
14   organizations and participating groups, I want

15   to thank all of you for taking time away from

16   your jobs and your families to be here today.
17   The sponsoring organizations include Sustainable

18   Northwest, the University of Oregon and the
19   Ecosystem Workforce Program, the Alliance of

20   Forest Workers and Harvesters, the Watershed

21   Research and Training Center, and the
22   Communities Committee.   And detailed information

23   about each of these groups is in your

24   registration packet.
25                   The United States Forest Service


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 1   and the Department of Labor are key

 2   participating organizations in today's forum.
 3   And on behalf of the sponsoring groups, I want

 4   to thank them for the collaborative manner in

 5   which the event was planned and implemented.     We
 6   could not do this without them, and it has been

 7   a real pleasure to work with them to make

 8   today's forum a reality.   Thank you for being
 9   here.

10                   I want to especially thank the
11   University of Oregon and its Ecosystem Workforce

12   Program, which is located at the University's

13   Institute for Sustainable Environment, for being
14   our local host.   They took on an enormous amount

15   of work, and everything is perfect because of

16   them.   Thank you very much.
17                   I'm going to quickly review the

18   objectives of today's forum, and then I'll get
19   into some introductions and we'll get on with

20   the show.   So there are three primary objectives

21   for today's forum, and the first was to create a
22   constructive, safe, and open venue where the

23   U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Labor,

24   and the public can exchange information about
25   changing conditions for forest workers and


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 1   contractors, particularly those who work on

 2   public lands, and for the public to learn about
 3   the efforts of the U.S. Forest Service and the

 4   Department of Labor to improve enforcement in

 5   existing labor laws and regulations affecting
 6   forestry service workers, including migrant,

 7   seasonal, and H-2B guest workers.

 8                    And finally, perhaps the most
 9   important, is for the Forest Service and

10   Department of Labor to learn from on-the-ground
11   experiences of contractors and workers and

12   others about working conditions in the field so

13   we can focus on solutions together.
14                    Today's forum is organized into

15   two sections.    The first is a briefing.   And

16   then we'll take a break, and then we're going to
17   move into a listening session, a public comment

18   period.
19                    In the briefing portion of

20   today's event, we're going to have an overview

21   of the issue followed by some presentations by
22   the Forest Service and the Department of Labor

23   describing their recent efforts.    And after

24   those two presentations, we will take a short
25   break.


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 1                    And after that break we will

 2   reconvene, hopefully very much on time because
 3   the more on time we are, the more chance that

 4   everybody who wants to speak today will be able

 5   to speak.
 6                    And if you registered to speak at

 7   the beginning portion of this, you should have

 8   been given a ticket with a number on it.    We
 9   request when you come back from the break you

10   come back five minutes early so we can get
11   people lined up properly so that it goes nice

12   and smoothly so that we don't waste a lot of

13   time between people.    We are going to have
14   people lined up, even numbers and odd numbers.

15   But we'll explain that again at the end of the

16   briefing session.
17                    During the course of the morning

18   or during the break if you decide to forfeit
19   your speaking time, please return your ticket to

20   the registration table because there is a

21   waiting list.    And what we will do then is be
22   able to give somebody else an opportunity to

23   speak.

24                    The forum will end at 5:15 after
25   the closing remarks provided by our


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 1   distinguished guests, Mr. Rey and

 2   Mr. Passantino.
 3                    So now I'm going to quickly

 4   review the ground rules for the briefing portion

 5   of the morning.    These are pretty simple rules,
 6   and they are designed to -- we are hoping they

 7   will ensure that we create a constructive and

 8   candid environment and also that we stay on
 9   schedule.

10                    The first rule, pretty obvious.
11   One person speaks at a time.     This is to ensure

12   that everybody can hear.    And we ask that

13   participants refrain from making side comments
14   or engaging in side conversations.     If you need

15   to have a conversation with somebody else in the

16   audience, please feel free to do so.     We just
17   ask that you do it out in the hallway.

18                    The other thing that we're asking
19   is that everybody refrain from clapping or

20   calling out during or at the end of

21   presentations.    This, we hope, will ensure
22   respectful listening and also make sure that the

23   maximum number of people have the opportunity to

24   speak.
25                    And last but not least, of course


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 1   silence your cell phones, silence or vibrate,

 2   please.    If you need to take a call, please
 3   leave the room.

 4                    I will go over the ground rules

 5   for the public comment listening session later,
 6   after the break.

 7                    So I have just three quick

 8   reminders before we get into introductions.
 9   At the back of the room there are several

10   information tables and staff from the U.S.
11   Forest Service, the Department of Labor, as well

12   as the Occupational Safety and Health

13   Administration, as well as the sponsoring
14   organization.    So in the back corner here we've

15   got the Department of Labor and the U.S. Forest

16   Service.    And then some of the nonprofit
17   sponsoring organizations are over here.      And I

18   encourage you during the break to go and see the
19   resources that they've brought for you.

20                    We also encourage everybody here

21   -- you should have gotten a comment card when
22   you registered.    We really encourage everybody

23   to complete those and turn them in before the

24   end of today's event.    If you did bring written
25   statements, please make sure you put that in the


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 1   box at the registration table that's collecting

 2   the written statements.
 3                   So with that, those are some

 4   pretty basic reminders.    So now we get to hear

 5   from people more interesting.      Logistics are
 6   done.

 7                   So it is really my pleasure to

 8   introduce Dr. Linda Brady.      Dr. Brady is the
 9   senior vice president and provost and professor

10   of political science here at the University of
11   Oregon.   Dr. Brady provides academic leadership

12   for the University and promotes the University's

13   mission of academic excellence in all of its
14   manifestations:   undergraduate education,

15   graduate education, research activity,

16   international programs, and service to the
17   people of Oregon.    So thank you very much,

18   Dr. Brady.
19                       (Applause.)

20                   DR. BRADY:   Thank you, Maia.      I

21   really am pleased to be here.      I'm a relatively
22   recent transplant from North Carolina, and

23   there's some real similarities in terms of the

24   demographics of North Carolina and Oregon as
25   Dr. Moseley and I were speaking about earlier


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 1   today.

 2                    Under Secretary Rey, Deputy
 3   Administrator Passantino, distinguished guests,

 4   ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and welcome

 5   to the University of Oregon.     I'm pleased to
 6   welcome you on behalf of President Dave

 7   Frohnmayer to our campus.

 8                    I do hope while you are here you
 9   will take a moment to enjoy the University's

10   traditions that are on display, some of them
11   indeed outside of this room.     The University is

12   proud of our reputation for both academic and

13   athletic excellence.
14                    From this point south to Franklin

15   Boulevard you will find the University's

16   Riverfront Research Park and buildings
17   associated with our School of Architecture and

18   Allied Arts and other programs before you
19   actually reach the central part of our campus.

20                    If you are visiting the

21   University of Oregon for the first time, I do
22   hope you will have a chance to visit our central

23   campus where indeed you will see the

24   University's museums, our student union, and a
25   number of really impressive buildings.


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 1                  The University of Oregon is

 2   indeed a comprehensive research university that
 3   serves our students and the people of Oregon,

 4   the nation, and the world through the creation

 5   and the transfer of knowledge in the liberal
 6   arts, in the natural and social sciences, and in

 7   the professions.   We are committed to academic

 8   excellence and student success.
 9                  As a research institution, the

10   University recognizes that research, both basic
11   and applied, is essential to the intellectual

12   health of the University as well as to the

13   enrichment of the lives of Oregonians.
14                  We are here today to receive a

15   briefing on new efforts to protect the health

16   and safety of workers on national forest lands
17   and to hear and make comments about working

18   conditions for forest workers on federal lands.
19   These efforts have been informed by research

20   conducted at the University of Oregon by

21   Cassandra Moseley, director of the Ecosystem
22   Workforce Program.   Dr. Moseley's research is in

23   keeping with the University's record of

24   producing research that informs public policy.
25                  The University of Oregon and


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 1   programs associated with the Department of

 2   Planning, Public Policy and Management have a
 3   long record of providing research and technical

 4   assistance to local governments and rural

 5   communities for economic development projects,
 6   land use planning, disaster preparedness, and

 7   community service projects.     This tradition is

 8   in keeping with the University's mission of
 9   serving the public, which in turn sustains the

10   University.
11                    We have a full agenda today, and

12   I know that everyone is eager to hear from our

13   distinguished visitors and to make comments of
14   their own.    Thank you again for coming.   We

15   appreciate the ability to host this event, and I

16   do want to thank all of our sponsors and
17   organizers.

18                    On behalf of the University of
19   Oregon, please accept my best wishes for a

20   satisfying and informative forum.     And it is my

21   pleasure to introduce to you Dr. Cassandra
22   Moseley.   Thank you.

23                       (Applause.)

24                    DR. MOSELEY:   Thank you, Linda.
25   I would like to add as well my warm welcome to


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 1   all of you here today.   And I particularly would

 2   like to thank those of you who traveled long
 3   distances and those of you who have taken time

 4   away from your regular workday to participate in

 5   this forum.
 6                  As Linda said, my name is

 7   Cassandra Moseley, and I'm the director of the

 8   Ecosystem Workforce Program in the Institute for
 9   Sustainable Environment here at the University.

10   Through applied research and policy education,
11   the Ecosystem Workforce Program seeks to build

12   linkages between ecological health, economic

13   well-being, and democratic governance.   Over the
14   past half decade, we have been conducting

15   research to understand who works on federal

16   forest lands and what the working conditions of
17   forest workers are.

18                  In my remarks today, I want to
19   spend a few minutes providing a framing for the

20   coming presentations and comments.

21                  People who work in the woods
22   perform a wide variety of tasks that can be

23   divided into at least three groups.   First there

24   are the loggers, probably most famously, loggers
25   and road builders and others associated with the


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 1   harvest or removal of trees.

 2                   Second, there are the harvesters
 3   and gatherers of non-wood forest products, such

 4   as mushrooms, boughs, medicinal herbs, and the

 5   like.
 6                   And third, there are workers who

 7   perform a variety of services including tree

 8   planting, thinning, wildland fire suppression.
 9   And it is this last group of workers that is the

10   focus of today's forum.
11                   Two decades ago, these forestry

12   services workers primarily planted trees and

13   performed other reforestation activities.    With
14   the decline of industrial-scale forest

15   management on public lands has come the decline

16   of tree planting and other reforestation
17   activities.   This reforestation continues

18   largely on private lands, but on public lands
19   these tasks have been replaced by thinning for

20   fire hazard reduction and more significantly by

21   contract wildfire suppression.
22                   Forestry services workers

23   typically work for businesses who are employed

24   by or contracted with the landowners rather than
25   working for the landowners or the land managers


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 1   directly.    They work on public lands.    They work

 2   on private lands not only in Oregon, but in New
 3   Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, and just about

 4   everywhere in between.    Today we are focused on

 5   workers who work on federal land, not only in
 6   the Pacific Northwest but across the country.

 7                    Since the 1970s the forestry

 8   services workforce has been a multicultural
 9   workforce with Hispanics making up a clear

10   majority of forest workers.    Forest workers
11   include U.S. citizens, legal permanent

12   residents, and undocumented workers.      H-2B guest

13   workers make up an increasing or growing segment
14   of this workforce.    This is particularly true in

15   the southeastern part of the United States, but

16   it is also a growing segment of the workforce in
17   this part of the country as well.

18                    As logging declined on public
19   lands, many had hoped that forest and watershed

20   restoration would replace logging jobs.      Instead

21   of cutting big trees on public lands, we would,
22   for example, plant stream-side trees to improve

23   fish habitat, thin plantations to restore forest

24   structure.    The need for sophisticated
25   restoration, it was hoped, would create


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 1   high-skilled, high-wage jobs in forest

 2   communities.   Unfortunately, this hope is still
 3   largely unfulfilled.

 4                   Let me just quickly compare

 5   forestry service workers and loggers using
 6   Oregon just as an example.      Today in Oregon

 7   there are roughly seven or eight thousand

 8   loggers and between three and seven or eight
 9   thousand forestry services workers, depending on

10   the time of year and how you count.      And it
11   turns out counting these workers is not an easy

12   task.

13                   The median wage of a forestry
14   services worker in Oregon in recent years has

15   been $5,000 a year, the median wage of loggers

16   just over $17,000 a year.    In 2003 more than 85
17   percent of forestry services workers in Oregon

18   earned less than the federal poverty level for a
19   family of four.   Half of forestry services

20   workers work outside of forestry over the course

21   of the year, typically in other low wage sectors
22   of the economy, particularly in agriculture and

23   restaurants and other low wage sectors.      Only

24   about 30 percent of loggers work outside of
25   logging.   Many of them do work in the forest


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 1   products sector in jobs related, such as milling

 2   and trucking.
 3                    These are two of many measures to

 4   show that forestry services work is typically

 5   lower paid, more seasonal, and less stable than
 6   logging.   Unfortunately, these problems are not

 7   new or easily solved.    The forest products

 8   industry has mechanized and no longer provides
 9   the logging jobs per board foot that it did 20

10   or 30 years ago.
11                    But problems with job quality in

12   forestry services are really longer standing.

13   We can look back at the academic research and
14   press coverage over the past three decades, and

15   we can see abuses including cheating workers out

16   of their wages, unsafe and unsanitary working
17   conditions, poor training, disrespectful and

18   degrading treatment.    These challenges are long
19   term and they are structural.

20                    Over the last 18 months the

21   Forest Service and the Department of Labor has
22   taken some steps to bring about improvements in

23   this industry.    Today, together, we take another

24   step to understand our progress and identify
25   needs and opportunities for further change.


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 1                  The issue of forest working

 2   conditions is clearly of central importance to
 3   forest workers and their families.    And for

 4   those of us who do not work in the woods, these

 5   issues should be important as well if for no
 6   other reason than all of us go to work every day

 7   and we all want a fair, safe, and dignified

 8   workplace.
 9                  But the working conditions of

10   forest workers don't only affect forest workers.
11   They also affect businesses, communities, and

12   the forest itself.   Structures that reward

13   quality and protect workers create workers who
14   can support their families, businesses that can

15   contribute to their communities, and management

16   that restores forests and watersheds.    In a
17   world where economic, ecological, and social

18   well-being are interconnected, forest worker
19   issues are forest health issues.    Thank you.

20                     (Applause.)

21                  MS. ENZER:   Thank you, Dr. Brady,
22   for that warm welcome to the University, and

23   Dr. Moseley, for providing that insightful

24   overview of the issues facing forestry workers.
25                  Now we have another technology


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 1   break.    But instead of me trying to do this in

 2   English and translating it, James is just going
 3   to come and tell you what is going on.

 4                       (Instructions for translation

 5                        equipment provided in English
 6                        and Spanish.)

 7                    MS. ENZER:    Before I introduce

 8   our next group of speakers, I want to recognize
 9   Linda Goodman, who is the Regional Forester for

10   Region VI of the U.S. Forest Service.
11                    So Linda --

12                      (Applause.)

13                    Linda, thank you so much for
14   being here to listen to today's presentation.

15   We very much appreciate your interest and

16   commitment to working with the public on these
17   issues.    And I know you, and I know that you

18   will be here to discuss this with us over the
19   long term.    So thank you.

20                    So now we get to hear from the

21   people everybody has been waiting for.      So I'm
22   pleased to introduce two very special guests.

23   First we will hear from the Under Secretary for

24   Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr. Mark
25   Rey.   I'm going to introduce Mr. Rey and Alex


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 1   Passantino, and then they'll just come up and do

 2   it.
 3                  So Mr. Rey oversees the U.S.

 4   Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and

 5   Natural Resources Conservation Service.     He has
 6   a long career in natural resources policy

 7   issues, including serving as senior staff member

 8   in the U.S. Senate and also working for several
 9   forestry trade associations.

10                  Mr. Rey will be followed by
11   Mr. Alex Passantino, who is the Deputy

12   Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor's

13   Wage and Hour Division.   Mr. Passantino oversees
14   programs relating to the enforcement and

15   administration of the Fair Labor Standards Act,

16   the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker
17   Protection Act, immigration statutes, and other

18   laws establishing labor standards.
19                  Thank you both so much for

20   traveling and being here with us today.

21                  So, Mark, will you come on up?
22                  MR. REY:   Good afternoon.    First

23   I would like to thank the five sponsoring

24   organizations that have made today's listening
25   session possible and all the work that each of


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 1   the organizations has done to get us to this

 2   point.    I would also like to thank the
 3   University of Oregon for hosting the event.      It

 4   will allow me to forgive the University of

 5   Oregon for the football victory you had a couple
 6   of years ago against the University of Michigan

 7   when we were undefeated and ranked number one at

 8   the time.
 9                    I would also like to acknowledge

10   the fine introduction from Maia Enzer, as well
11   as Dr. Moseley's opening comments.    Shortly you

12   will hear from Alex Passantino from the

13   Department of Labor.
14                    Both the Department of

15   Agriculture and the Forest Service, as well as

16   the Department of Labor, are committed to the
17   safety and health of workers on our national

18   forests.    Federal law provides for foreign
19   citizens temporarily coming to the United States

20   to perform jobs where U.S. workers may be in

21   short supply.    And often, as has already been
22   indicated, this work involves reforestation and

23   other tasks on the national forests.

24                    Several federal agencies have
25   responsibilities for many aspects of this


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 1   particular work program.   They include not only

 2   the Department of Labor and the Department of
 3   Agriculture but the Department of Homeland

 4   Security and some state agencies as well.

 5                   The Forest Service has an
 6   important role and responsibility where its

 7   contractors are employing these temporary

 8   workers.   Last December the Chief of the Forest
 9   Service communicated his position and the

10   agency's policy concerning the safety and health
11   of these workers.   Forest Services Director of

12   Acquisition Management has issued specific

13   direction in contract clauses this past winter
14   concerning the protection and safety and the

15   health of these workers.

16                   Over the past season we've
17   coordinated with various oversight agencies to

18   enforce these requirements.   And that
19   coordination, I believe, has had some productive

20   results, but I hope we'll hear more about that

21   today, not only where successes have occurred,
22   but where additional concerns remain.

23                   Shortly representatives of the

24   Department of Labor and the Forest Service will
25   provide details of the actions, the specific


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 1   actions that have taken place during the past

 2   ten months and the results.
 3                   We both remain committed to the

 4   health and safety of all workers on our national

 5   forests, and we will continue to coordinate with
 6   the oversight agencies to ensure that safety.

 7   We will take what we learn today to improve that

 8   coordination and to improve the work we do
 9   ensuring the safety and health of our workers

10   during the next season.
11                   If I might, I would like to

12   digress just for a few seconds to make an

13   announcement that I think is of interest to some
14   of the communities represented here today.    This

15   morning in Washington D.C. Secretary of

16   Agriculture Mike Johanns released the
17   administration's proposal for the 2007 Farm

18   Bill.
19                   The current Farm Bill, which was

20   passed by Congress and signed by the President

21   in 2002, will expire at the end of this year.
22   And unless Congress acts to reauthorize a new

23   Farm Bill, we will revert by the terms of the

24   existing legislation to the 1949 Farm Bill,
25   which will result in significant disruption of


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 1   agriculture programs.    I don't think that will

 2   happen.    I think Congress will reauthorize the
 3   Farm Bill.    I hope Congress will reauthorize a

 4   Farm Bill similar to the one that we proposed

 5   today.
 6                    The reason I bring that up is

 7   included in that proposal are significant

 8   increased levels of assistance for socially
 9   disadvantaged farmers and new entries into

10   agriculture.    We are at a turning point in
11   American agriculture.    In the course of

12   producing this Farm Bill, we held 52 listening

13   sessions structured very similar to the session
14   we are at today to find out what was on the mind

15   of America's farmers and ranchers and rural

16   landowners -- farmers, ranchers, and rural
17   landowners from all economic strata and from

18   many diverse categories of producers.
19                    And one of the things we heard in

20   almost every session was we need to provide

21   incentives for new entries into agriculture and
22   for socially disadvantaged producers and that

23   this Farm Bill would be our last opportunity to

24   get it right given the demographics of the
25   American agricultural community.


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 1                    So I commend our proposals today

 2   to your attention, particularly if either you or
 3   a friend or family member fit into the

 4   categories of socially disadvantaged or new

 5   producers, because I think what you will find
 6   there is in that Farm Bill there are very real

 7   efforts to assist your success in agriculture

 8   and similar functions.
 9                    So with that, I will happily turn

10   the podium over to Alex and the Department of
11   Labor.

12                       (Applause.)

13                    MR. PASSANTINO:   Thank you, Maia,
14   Dr. Brady, Dr. Moseley, Under Secretary Rey.       I

15   appreciate the opportunity to participate in

16   this forum and to share a little bit about what
17   the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of

18   Labor has done to protect forestry workers of
19   the country and to listen to your concerns.       As

20   has been said several times -- Sorry.     Can

21   everyone hear me?
22                    As has been said several times,

23   I'm the Deputy Administrator of the Wage and

24   Hour Division.    The Wage and Hour Division is
25   the enforcement agency that has responsibilities


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 1   for enforcing the child labor, minimum wage, and

 2   overtime standards of the Fair Labor Standards
 3   Act; the wage, transportation, contractor

 4   registration, and housing requirements of the

 5   Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers
 6   Protection Act or MSPA; the prevailing wage and

 7   fringe benefits protections of the Service

 8   Contract Act; and the field sanitation standards
 9   of the OSHA Act in non-State plan states.

10                  Generally, we seek -- the Wage
11   and Hour Division seeks to achieve compliance

12   with these statutes in a variety of ways, but

13   the two primary ways are through compliance
14   assistance and enforcement actions.   We are

15   always looking for different and innovative

16   strategies to achieve compliance.   And the need
17   for doing so in the reforestation context is

18   particularly acute because our work is made more
19   difficult by the remote locations, the

20   inaccessible work sites, the reluctance of

21   workers to approach the Government, and a
22   constantly shifting landscape of employers, many

23   of whom are unaware of their legal obligations.

24                  The challenges are many, but they
25   are not new to Wage and Hour.   We share a strong


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                     27

 1   commitment with the Forest Service to find a

 2   lasting solution to meeting the historical
 3   challenges of protecting these workers.   To

 4   overcome these and other challenges, we are

 5   constantly adapting our tactics and reaching out
 6   to employee groups, to employer groups, and to

 7   our colleagues in federal and state agencies.

 8   Through it all, we are looking for new ideas
 9   that will give us an edge in enforcing the laws

10   that protect these workers.
11                   Let me tell you a little bit

12   about what we have done over the past year or so

13   to ensure the protection of these workers.
14   First, we've worked on improving -- Can you hear

15   me?   I'm sorry.

16                   First, we've worked on improving
17   communications to the workers.   We are preparing

18   English and Spanish reforestation worker's
19   rights cards.   My understanding is they are

20   currently at the printer and should be made

21   available shortly.   These are in addition to the
22   H-2B worker's rights cards which the Department

23   of State distributes to the incoming H-2B

24   workers.   Basically they are just little pocket
25   cards that have the Wage and Hour Division's 800


            C & C COURT REPORTING     541/485-0111
                                                     28

 1   number.   It has some basic information about the

 2   laws that we enforce.   And workers can carry
 3   them around and have them in their pocket and

 4   have some sense of who to call and what the

 5   issues are that we deal with.
 6                   We've also offered compliance

 7   assistance to a number of forestry contractors

 8   to ensure that they are aware of their
 9   responsibilities to comply with the labor laws

10   when they are awarded the contracts.    Over the
11   past year or so we've conducted basically labor

12   tutorials on the laws that we enforce to

13   contractors in Maine, Montana, Oregon,
14   California, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Wyoming,

15   and the Dakotas.   Again, we conduct this

16   outreach to educate employers about their
17   obligation under the laws we enforce.

18                   Obviously, in addition to our
19   outreach, we have a strong enforcement record, a

20   strong enforcement program.   In fiscal year 2006

21   we conducted 24 forestry investigations, and in
22   fiscal year 2007 we are planning to do another

23   24, so we'll conduct 48 investigations.     That's

24   part of the national office's Reforestation
25   Initiative.   These 48 investigations are in


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                      29

 1   addition to any complaints we receive and any

 2   referrals we receive from the Forest Service.
 3   And Tony Perrou, who is our District Director in

 4   Sacramento, is going to speak shortly about our

 5   enforcement program in more detail.
 6                   The final and in many ways the

 7   most important component in our efforts to

 8   address the working conditions of the
 9   reforestation workers has been improved

10   communications with the Forest Service.   As
11   Under Secretary Rey said, this is a critical

12   element to ensuring the protection of

13   reforestation workers.   And the partnerships
14   exist at the national level, they exist at the

15   regional level, and they exist most importantly

16   at the local level.
17                   The partnerships aren't new.    For

18   many years the Wage and Hour offices in
19   California and the Northwest have worked with

20   their counterparts in the Forest Service as well

21   as with state and local law enforcement in their
22   efforts to protect reforestation workers.    We've

23   built upon and improved the partnerships,

24   however.   For example, Wage and Hour and OSHA
25   and the Forest Service have each designated


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                       30

 1   regional points of contact to facilitate

 2   communication and for the Forest Service to use
 3   in a rapid response referral system in the case

 4   of potential violations.

 5                   To assist the Forest Service in
 6   identifying potential violations, OSHA and Wage

 7   and Hour have created a one-page checklist of

 8   red flags.   It's just one page.   One side of it
 9   is all the wage and hour issues.    One side of it

10   has all the OSHA issues.   And the Forest Service
11   contracting officers have that so they know who

12   to call, when to call, and which issue goes with

13   which agency.   The Forest Service can either
14   address the issues under their own contract

15   authority or they can make a referral to Wage

16   and Hour or OSHA as may be appropriate.
17                   Our local Wage and Hour offices

18   have provided eleven outreach sessions to Forest
19   Service contractors, and we've also attended

20   three of their regional meetings and plan to do

21   more in the future.
22                   In addition to the training, Wage

23   and Hour and the Forest Service have been

24   sharing information.   The Forest Service
25   provides Wage and Hour with a list of the


           C & C COURT REPORTING        541/485-0111
                                                       31

 1   contracts, identity of the contractors, the

 2   approximate start date, and the location of the
 3   contract and the contact information for the

 4   appropriate Forest Service staff person.    In

 5   addition -- I learned this earlier this week --
 6   there's a database that the Forest Service is

 7   teaching us to work with, and we are coming up

 8   with instructions now, so that as soon as the
 9   contract is awarded we'll be able to get all of

10   that information immediately.    So that helps us
11   to prepare our directed program.

12                    When I say directed program, that

13   is our targeted enforcement so we know where to
14   go, when to go, and who at the Forest Service we

15   need to be working with to make sure we get

16   there.
17                    Finally, the Forest Service

18   checks the MSPA registration status and
19   investigation history of any contractor who wins

20   a contract by submitting a special form, a form

21   that was prepared specifically for this purpose,
22   to the local Wage and Hour office.

23                    These additional communications

24   and continued working relationship with the
25   Forest Service are critical to effectively


              C & C COURT REPORTING     541/485-0111
                                                       32

 1   protecting reforestation workers.     I believe

 2   that the message that we need to work together
 3   has been heard throughout Wage and Hour from our

 4   local offices to the national headquarters.

 5                   Obviously we don't believe we've
 6   overcome all the impediments to effective

 7   enforcement in the reforestation industry.     Some

 8   of the obstacles we face are substantial and
 9   persistent.   The dedicated personnel of the Wage

10   and Hour Division who are charged with enforcing
11   U.S. worker protection laws understand the

12   magnitude of their assignment as well as the

13   need for success.
14                   With us today in the back of the

15   room is one of our Wage and Hour investigators

16   from here in Eugene, Ed Silfuentes.     He is here
17   to answer questions you might have and provide

18   some of the materials that we distribute to
19   various programs.

20                   Again, thank you for the

21   opportunity to meet with you.     And I look
22   forward to hearing your comments.

23                       (Applause.)

24                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you, Mr. Rey
25   and Mr. Passantino, for those informative


           C & C COURT REPORTING        541/485-0111
                                                       33

 1   remarks.    There's a lot of really good

 2   information.    I'm going to now turn it over to
 3   two gentleman who are going to do PowerPoint

 4   presentations for us.

 5                    But before I do that, I'm going
 6   to look at my colleague, James, and say -- If

 7   somebody wanted to get up and move their seat,

 8   now would be a good time.
 9                    What I think is very unusual

10   about the next two speakers is they both have
11   been with their respective agencies for a very

12   long time, and I'm very impressed by this.

13                    Mr. Ron Hooper is the Director of
14   Acquisition Management for the U.S. Forest

15   Service out of their Washington D.C. office.      He

16   has worked for the Forest Service for more than
17   37 years.    A little competition here.

18                    Mr. Tony Perrou is the Sacramento
19   District Director of the Wage and Hour Division

20   for the Department of Labor, and he has been

21   with the Department of Labor for 32 years.      So
22   we should have quite a significant amount of

23   experience available to us here.

24                    So thank you both, and I -- when
25   their presentations are complete, we are going


           C & C COURT REPORTING        541/485-0111
                                                         34

 1   to end the briefing portion of this event.      I

 2   will come up and do a few reminders, very short,
 3   very short.   And then we are going to take a

 4   twenty-minute break.

 5                   There will not be an opportunity
 6   for questions at the end of their presentation,

 7   but that is what all of those folks in the back

 8   room are here for.    I also want to remind you
 9   that your comment cards that you have, if you

10   have a question on those comment cards, you can
11   put them down on there and put your information,

12   and we will do what we can to respond to those

13   in another venue.    Or you can give them to the
14   people in the back of the room and they may be

15   able to help you with that.

16                   Okay.   So that's it.   So, Ron, do
17   you want to come up first?

18                   MR. HOOPER:   Good afternoon.    I,
19   too, would like to thank Dr. Brady for her

20   welcoming us at the University of Oregon,

21   Dr. Moseley for your insightful comments and
22   observations about forestry workers' conditions

23   and concerns about their health and their

24   welfare.   Also, Cassandra, thank you for all the
25   effort you went to to arrange the logistics and


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                        35

 1   facilities here this afternoon.      It was a

 2   tremendous amount of work and we appreciate
 3   that.    Maia, appreciate your leadership and

 4   coordinating with the five sponsoring

 5   organizations to host us here this afternoon,
 6   too.    So we thank you for your efforts.

 7                    Mr. Rey and Mr. Passantino

 8   made some very relevant comments earlier, and
 9   many of my comments are probably going to mimic

10   those and I won't dwell on them since you've
11   heard them before.

12                    But let me try to share with you

13   some of the specific actions that the Forest
14   Service has taken in conjunction with the

15   Department of Labor, particularly the Wage and

16   Hour Division and the Office of Safety and
17   Health Administration, OSHA, in trying to be

18   responsive and responsible in our dealing with
19   the concern for migrant seasonal workers,

20   particularly the H-2B workers here on working

21   visas, as they are performing work on national
22   forest system lands, particularly reforestation

23   work.

24                    A little bit of background that
25   Mr. Rey went into earlier.      My direct exposure


             C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                      36

 1   to the issue really surfaced in the late '80s,

 2   early '90s when it was brought to my attention
 3   as a contracting officer on a national forest in

 4   a regional office that there was concern about

 5   the citizenship status of workers working on
 6   some of the Forest Service contracts.   And the

 7   Forest Service attempted, with the Department of

 8   Labor, particularly the Wage and Hour Division,
 9   to address that through an increased diligence

10   in inspecting our contracts, our service
11   contracts, an awareness of that issue, and

12   working more closely with the Department of

13   Labor and the Department of State, at that time,
14   on citizen status issues.   And we put a pretty

15   -- what I call a full court press to address

16   that concern for several years.
17                  Then I describe it as -- you

18   know, a series of events overtakes that.   You
19   have a tendency to sit back and think you've

20   dealt with it and the issue is now resolved and

21   you get onto other issues, whether they be
22   natural resource issues, workforce management

23   issues, or budgetary issues.   And you tend to

24   not focus -- or you tend to lose focus on what
25   had been the problem.


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                     37

 1                   The concern was resurfaced again

 2   late 2005 and 2006 primarily through a series of
 3   news articles that appeared in The Sacramento

 4   Bee again talking about the plight or concern

 5   with the welfare and health and safety of
 6   migrant and seasonal workers on Forest Service

 7   contracts.   It brought that to the fore again,

 8   and I think Mr. Rey made reference to a hearing
 9   that was held by the United States Senate in

10   March of 2006 at which Mr. Rey and the Assistant
11   Secretary of the Department of Labor testified.

12   And some of you who are in this audience also

13   participated in a later panel providing
14   testimony on this concern.

15                   As a result of that, in my case,

16   Mr. Rey shared with me his and the Secretary's
17   desire that the Forest Service increase our

18   diligence and do more to address this concern.
19   And Mr. Rey had some specific suggestions that

20   we could attempt to coordinate with the

21   Department of Labor to address these.   So
22   immediately what we did is we set up, at my

23   level, the staff level and my substaff level,

24   coordinating meetings on a monthly basis with
25   the Department of Labor to strategize on how we


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                     38

 1   go forward as two departments to address these

 2   concerns.
 3                  What exactly have we done?    There

 4   was earlier reference to the Forest Service

 5   Chief's position -- and I'll go into more detail
 6   on these bullets as I proceed with my remarks --

 7   and the direction that was issued by myself to

 8   the contracting community and my contracting
 9   officers in the field, the contract clauses and

10   provisions, the training that has occurred that
11   Mr. Passantino made reference to.

12                  I'll talk about some of the

13   inspection and monitoring requirements that
14   we've placed upon our contracting officer

15   community out there, some of the actions we've

16   taken to account for reporting of violators,
17   what that means for future awards of contracts

18   to those firms or individuals who are chronic or
19   serious violators of these labor provisions, and

20   what we are doing in terms of an internal

21   control plan to provide for some accountability.
22                  You know, it's nice for me to

23   talk about what we've done, but if there's no

24   accountability that I can reassure you that yes,
25   indeed, we've taken those actions, a lot of that


           C & C COURT REPORTING     541/485-0111
                                                      39

 1   can be lip service in your opinion.   So I want

 2   to talk a little bit about the accountability
 3   side of what we're doing as well.

 4                  As was mentioned earlier, in late

 5   2005 the Chief of the Forest Service -- this is
 6   a serious issue for the Chief, and he wanted to

 7   give it his personal attention.   So he issued a

 8   letter to the -- what we call the line officers
 9   in the agency, the Regional Foresters,

10   expressing his expectations.
11                  And the Chief didn't expect that

12   our employees would become OSHA inspectors or

13   have the skills and knowledge of the Department
14   of Labor Wage and Hour enforcement personnel and

15   know the detail that they know of those laws.

16   But he did expect Forest Service employees,
17   including my contracting officer community, to

18   treat and be sensitive to the conditions,
19   whether they were visitors, users, or workers on

20   the national forests, that we expect the same

21   health conditions, safety conditions, and
22   respect and dignity that we expect to provide

23   our own employees.

24                  He expects Forest Service
25   employees to take immediate action when there


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                      40

 1   was imminent threat to health or safety.    It was

 2   not going to be acceptable to the Chief of the
 3   Forest Service for myself or one of my

 4   colleagues to say, "We don't know what the OSHA

 5   requirements are."
 6                   You know, there are many

 7   situations where common sense says that's an

 8   immediate threat to somebody's health and
 9   welfare and safety.   And the Chief of the Forest

10   Service expects us in those circumstances to
11   address that issue immediately.

12                   And he emphasized the fact that

13   violations will be a factor in evaluating future
14   awards and offers to contracts, that we were not

15   going to be in a position of continually

16   awarding contracts to firms and individuals that
17   were continual violators of the Department of

18   Labor Wage and Hour Division and OSHA standards
19   when it comes to health and safety and wage and

20   benefits and the treatment of workers on the

21   national forest system.
22                   So that laid out the Chief's

23   expectations.   Then following that in January I

24   issued a letter that reiterated the Chief's
25   position, reemphasized to the contracting


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                     41

 1   officers community, the people on the Forest

 2   Service side that you all negotiate and sign
 3   contracts with, reiterated the Chief's position

 4   and reemphasized the importance of it through

 5   the agency.
 6                   We worked with the Department of

 7   Labor and our field contracting personnel to

 8   come up with stronger provisions in contract
 9   clauses in our contracts that very clearly

10   outline to the contractors and to the
11   contractors' employees what was expected of the

12   contractor in terms of providing for the health

13   and safety and welfare for their employees.
14                   In the past we had incorporated

15   all those requirements by reference.    We would

16   just make reference to the Service Contract Act,
17   for example.   But unless you went and did a lot

18   of research, you had no idea what those
19   requirements were.   So these new contract

20   clauses and provisions actually spelled out in

21   detail what we would be expecting in terms of
22   compliance with the Department of Labor laws and

23   regulations.

24                   My direction required
25   notification of the Department of Labor and also


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                      42

 1   the Department of Homeland Security, responsible

 2   for customs and immigration, of contract awards
 3   that may involve migrant workers under the H-2B

 4   visas.    You know, the Department of Homeland

 5   Security has a role in issuing those visas, so
 6   we wanted to make sure all three agencies were

 7   notified of any contract awards in which H-2B

 8   employees would be -- or workers would be
 9   employed by contractors.    The direction required

10   documentation that the requirements had been
11   reviewed with the contractor.    In other words,

12   we want to ensure that at -- some of you will be

13   familiar with this term -- our prework meetings
14   -- when we award a contract, we meet early on

15   with the contractor to review the terms of the

16   contract, technical requirements, and so forth.
17   There's now a direction out there that the

18   contracting officers will review with the
19   contractor these new contract clauses and

20   provisions so it's clear in everyone's mind what

21   those requirements are.
22                    The direction also requires

23   contract inspection include compliance with

24   these requirements.    As has been stated, the
25   Department of Labor has enforcement


              C & C COURT REPORTING    541/485-0111
                                                        43

 1   responsibility to enforce and take the

 2   appropriate action when the Department of Labor
 3   laws and regs are violated.      But that doesn't --

 4   that should not and does not provide the Forest

 5   Service an opportunity to turn our back on these
 6   violations.    So our contract administrators now

 7   have direction that they are to include

 8   compliance with these requirements in their
 9   inspection processes and they are to be

10   sensitive to indicators that compliance is not
11   occurring.

12                    The contract clauses and

13   provisions again were very specific to the
14   concerns that had been expressed up to that

15   point.    Personal protective equipment, there are

16   requirements now that are very specific as to
17   head, eye, ear protection equipment, protection

18   of arms and legs when operating chain saws.
19   Footing -- concerns about footings.      There's

20   prescribed protection for feet on slippery

21   slopes and where there is falling materials.
22                    Trying to address living

23   conditions, there are camping provisions in

24   there that talk about hygiene standards that
25   have to be maintained in these field camps,


              C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                        44

 1   dealing with the ability of contract personnel

 2   to store and cook food in sanitary conditions.
 3                   Worker housing.   There's

 4   standards in there about the type of housing,

 5   overcrowding, cleanliness, and also the charges
 6   that are made for housing.

 7                   Wage and hour benefits.     Rather

 8   than just reference the Service Contract Act,
 9   for example, there are specific dollar figures.

10   And overtime requirements and benefit
11   requirements are now spelled out in those

12   clauses.

13                   Motor vehicle safety.    You are
14   probably all aware of the accidents we've had

15   that involved seasonal workers on our national

16   forest system lands that are employed by our
17   contractors.   We are very specific now in what

18   the Department of Transportation and what OSHA
19   requires in terms of vehicle safety that are

20   transporting these seasonal workers.     And we are

21   inspecting for compliance with those standards.
22                   Field sanitation.    Providing for

23   rest room facilities for employees, opportunity

24   to clean themselves up before meals -- a variety
25   of sanitation requirements are now very specific


           C & C COURT REPORTING         541/485-0111
                                                      45

 1   in those contracts.

 2                  So what it has done is it
 3   provides for the Forest Service contracting

 4   officers and contract administrators and

 5   provides for the contractors the details behind
 6   those laws that were probably pretty vague in

 7   past contracts and only incorporated by

 8   reference so that you as contractors, you as
 9   workers on these contracts, can look at that

10   contract and know exactly what you are entitled
11   to in terms of being treated appropriately and,

12   in terms of your wage and benefits that you are

13   entitled to and personal protective equipment
14   and safety while being transported in vehicles.

15                  So again, our objective was to

16   take the vagueness and the generalities out of
17   our contracts and make them very specific so

18   that we who administer those contracts and you
19   who operate and work under those contracts have

20   the knowledge base of what's expected in terms

21   of your welfare and your benefit.
22                  The training -- reference was

23   made to the training that has occurred.    The

24   Forest Service has a technology and development
25   center in Missoula, Montana.   And we worked


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                       46

 1   early on with the Department of Labor and my

 2   office to develop a DVD and a website where
 3   there is, again, a pretty extensive training

 4   program available now that you and the public

 5   can access on the website, or internally our
 6   Forest Service employees have available either

 7   through the website or a DVD to actually view

 8   the training.   If you are interested in getting
 9   on that site, it is set up so you can select

10   specific components of that training.    You don't
11   have to go through the parts you are not

12   interested in and take a lot of time.    But it is

13   a quality training program.
14                   I just recognized -- I just

15   realized that I didn't put the website on there.

16   So I'll get that for you.    We want to make sure
17   we get that information out to you.

18                   The Department of Labor, as has
19   been mentioned, has participated in three of our

20   regional workshops across the country in the

21   last six months and they are scheduled for
22   participation at others.    Where they have not

23   been able to participate, they have provided

24   training material that trainers either within
25   the Forest Service or a contract trainer has


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                       47

 1   also presented that material to the audience.

 2   And again, the audience is primarily Forest
 3   Service contracting officers, our contract

 4   administrators, but has also included some of

 5   you, the contractor community.    So again, we are
 6   receiving that training in the same form, at the

 7   same time, and asking and answering questions at

 8   the same time.    So we've all got the same
 9   knowledge base.

10                    Again, the training has been
11   provided either by the Department of Labor or

12   ourselves in every Forest Service region over

13   the past six months.    It includes contracting
14   officers' reps -- representatives -- I'm sorry

15   -- and contracting inspectors.    So it's not just

16   the owner of the firm and a Forest Service
17   contracting officer.    The audience includes

18   those people who are actually out there on the
19   ground inspecting your contracts, and they've

20   been directed to enforce those requirements.

21                    Inspection and monitoring.
22   Again, the Chief's letter and my direction in

23   the field emphasized inspection and monitoring.

24   Again, no longer was I going to be able to go
25   out there as a contracting officer and say,


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                       48

 1   "That's not my role.   That's the Department of

 2   Labor role."   The Chief made it very clear that
 3   it is my role now and it is the contracting

 4   officers' role and the contract administrators'

 5   role to go out and be vigilant and sensitive and
 6   aware of the conditions on those contracts.

 7                   Any violations or concerns are

 8   now documented in a contract file.    There's a
 9   written document that goes into the contract

10   file.   And we've made it the responsibility of
11   any and all Forest Service employees visiting

12   that project site to help oversee, administer,

13   and enforce those requirements.
14                   So, you know, there are occasions

15   when the District Ranger, where the Regional

16   Forester will go out on those sites.    If those
17   employees observe a condition that creates some

18   concern, they have a responsibility to bring it
19   to the attention of the contracting officer as

20   well for the appropriate disposition of the

21   concern.
22                   Reporting.   As was mentioned

23   earlier, we have a process in place now where

24   not only do we exchange information with the
25   Department of Labor early on on the awarded


             C & C COURT REPORTING     541/485-0111
                                                     49

 1   contracts so that they can schedule their

 2   enforcement resources, but we are also
 3   exchanging information now on violations.    Not

 4   only do we report it to the specific regional

 5   office for the Department of Labor, but we've
 6   got a rapport and process now where in the

 7   Washington D.C. area there's information

 8   exchanged between the Forest Service
 9   headquarters and the Department of Labor

10   headquarters so that we are not relying totally
11   on the field of the two agencies to enforce

12   these provisions, but we've involved the

13   headquarters.   And that's different from what we
14   had in the '80s and '90s.

15                   Again, another indicator that we

16   are taking it seriously and will continue to
17   monitor not only performance of the contractor

18   community, you folks, but our own performance as
19   those responsible agencies.

20                   It involves -- the suspected

21   violations this year involved primarily wage and
22   benefit issues, the ones that are specific to

23   our reforestation contracts.   And there have

24   been fines levied where appropriate.   There have
25   been some contractors where an investigation has


           C & C COURT REPORTING      541/485-0111
                                                      50

 1   determined there has been a violation, but

 2   because of their responsiveness and their
 3   cooperativeness, the Department of Labor has

 4   decided not to assess fines.

 5                    But again, I share with you that
 6   we are being proactive.    We are looking for

 7   violations.    They are being reported and

 8   investigated where they occur.    And the
 9   appropriate actions -- enforcement actions are

10   being taken.
11                    The Forest Service has

12   established a database where we now record those

13   contractors who have violated these provisions,
14   whether they be a violation of the contract

15   requirement or actual law, and that database is

16   checked when we consider future awards of
17   contract.    And those violations and that

18   behavior will be considered in future awards as
19   part of what we call our responsibility

20   determination.    It's not responsible for

21   contractors to continue to violate these
22   requirements, and there will be consequences for

23   that in the form of not getting future contract

24   awards on Forest Service reforestation
25   contracts.


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 1                  We think it's very important that

 2   we not just turn to the Department of Labor to
 3   do their investigation and levy their

 4   enforcement actions.    It's as important for the

 5   Forest Service to consider that behavior and
 6   that performance of the contract in future

 7   contractor and future contract awards.    And we

 8   are going to do that.
 9                  On the accountability side --

10   we've talked about all this good stuff we are
11   doing, but I wanted to assure you there is

12   accountability for that.    I didn't want to come

13   here today and say, "Yeah, I'm confident our
14   field organization is doing everything the Chief

15   required of them and everything the Director of

16   Acquisition Management directed at them,"
17   because, for one thing, I knew you wouldn't take

18   that at face value.
19                  So we do have a process in place

20   through what we call internal control plans

21   where we go out and conduct reviews of regions
22   and the regions conduct reviews of the forests.

23   One of the things they are required now to look

24   for in these reviews is compliance with the
25   Chief's letter and my direction and the


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                                                      52

 1   inclusion of these clauses and inspection of

 2   these contracts for compliance with these
 3   Department of Labor requirements.

 4                   An additional measure we took

 5   this year is to go out and require of each
 6   region to certify its compliance and that they

 7   had reported violations and that investigations

 8   and proper dispositions had occurred.    So again,
 9   we are trying to be accountable to you folks in

10   this room and to our other customers out there
11   that we are serious about this and we are

12   putting accountability in the process.

13                   With that, I appreciate the
14   opportunity to address this group, and I'm

15   really -- I'm more interested in your comments

16   this afternoon than having taken any more of
17   your time.   I'd like to leave as much time as

18   possible for you folks to give us feedback.
19                   With that, Tony, I'll turn it

20   over to you.

21                      (Applause.)
22                   MR. PERROU:   Thank you, Ron.

23   Good afternoon.   I'll take just a moment or two

24   before I go into the slides and just reiterate
25   to you what you've heard as far as the action


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                                                     53

 1   items between the agencies.   On the national and

 2   on the regional level, the leadership came
 3   together in 2006, later part of 2005 and through

 4   2006 and formulated and worked to enhance the

 5   working relationships between the agencies, Wage
 6   and Hour Division, the Office of Safety and

 7   Health Administration that enforces a number of

 8   the safety laws applicable to the forest workers
 9   in our national forests as well as the United

10   States Forest Service.
11                  From this enhancement, two major

12   things came out that you've heard already.    One

13   is the compliance assistance aspect of training
14   and education to the public and the

15   communication between the agencies.   And it has

16   been stepped up several notches to where
17   everyone in our nation on the district level

18   knows the names and has met the faces of the
19   contracting officers, those administrators in

20   the Forest Service, as well as the Wage and Hour

21   division, local district managers, coordinators,
22   even investigative staff that goes in the

23   forests to do the investigations.   So there has

24   been a much wider exchange of communication
25   between the agencies on the local level.


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 1                    With that, the first step that we

 2   have taken is outreach and training of the
 3   Forest Service.    Many of the Forest Service

 4   representatives have been trained before and

 5   have met on a recurring basis through the years.
 6   But in 2006 there was a concerted effort to

 7   provide training of the laws, OSHA as well as

 8   Wage and Hour laws, to the protection of the
 9   forest worker.    And we have met in a number of

10   locations through the Northwest, as you've
11   already heard, and have given PowerPoint

12   presentations from both agencies.

13                    We've also invited other state
14   agencies to participate where their laws impact

15   the forest workers, such as the highway patrol

16   that look at the vehicles that transport those
17   workers across state highways.    We also have

18   state labor agencies that have become involved.
19   And where we have state plans with OSHA and the

20   state does the federal as well as the state OSHA

21   requirements, they too have participated in the
22   outreach and training sessions.

23                    So we have done a number of

24   training sessions throughout our country.      As a
25   result of the training sessions, more Forest


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 1   Service personnel now know or have a familiarity

 2   with labor law and with OSHA law than ever
 3   before, which allows them, the first and

 4   foremost person representing the government

 5   looking at contract work being performed, to
 6   notice and see if violations are occurring,

 7   especially the ones that are egregious, that are

 8   very out front and open, and can put a stop to
 9   it at that moment in hopes of protecting the

10   forest worker.    Or they have the local person to
11   call with the Wage and Hour Division or the

12   Office of Safety and Health Administration to

13   let them know what kind of violations are being
14   found in their forest.

15                    You've heard already about the

16   red flag checklist that the Department of Labor
17   created and has given to the Forest Service to

18   help the Forest Service personnel when they go
19   to the contract work site.    They can readily see

20   from that what violations, egregious violations

21   may occur, and they can readily report those if
22   it's not something that they can take care of

23   immediately themselves.

24                    We also have a farm labor
25   contractor registration.    It's a questionnaire


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 1   that the Forest Service now has that when a farm

 2   labor contractor applies for a contract and is
 3   in the running for the bid, before the award is

 4   given, they will send that questionnaire with

 5   the name of that contractor to the Wage and Hour
 6   regional and/or district office.    Within 72

 7   hours, we report back to the Forest Service the

 8   past history of that farm labor contractor for
 9   at least three years.   In some cases we go back

10   further if there is a rich legacy of history
11   with that particular contractor.

12                   We also tell them what their

13   current status is, if they are registered to do
14   contract work and in what capacity -- are they

15   registered to transport, are they registered to

16   house the workers, or if they are just
17   authorized to hire, solicit, recruit, furnish

18   those workers to the Forest Service or, on
19   private lands, to the private landowner.

20                   The Forest Service in return has

21   given us a master contracts list of projects for
22   the year.   And even though this started in 2006,

23   I understand that this has come out in 2006 for

24   us to understand where these projects of
25   upcoming service contracts will be -- location,


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 1   the size of the contract, and the period

 2   represented for the future when this work will
 3   be performed.    This helps the Wage and Hour

 4   Division and the Office of Safety and Health

 5   Administration develop a directed program of
 6   enforcement.    We can sit down when we get that

 7   list and say, "In July we have seven projects

 8   that are slated that will be long enough in the
 9   field that we can go in and do an investigation

10   after payroll has already been met to determine
11   if wages are being paid properly."    The beauty

12   of that is we can always go back to previous

13   contracts that that particular contractor may
14   have had in that current year or even in the

15   year before -- we have a two-year statute of

16   limitations on unpaid wages or wages that have
17   not met the minimum or nonpayment of the proper

18   overtime.
19                    In addition to that, the Forest

20   Service has given us a contract award list

21   letter.   Every time an award is given out, they
22   send us the award letter.    And it gives us the

23   name of the contractor, the location of where

24   the work is going to be performed, the size of
25   the contract, the period of the contract, and


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 1   the nature of the contract.    That too helps us

 2   in our directed program so that we can set up in
 3   advance enforcement efforts to go out and

 4   conduct investigations.

 5                  The whole purpose of this is to
 6   enhance, as you've heard before, the safety and

 7   well-being of the forest worker while at the

 8   same time assuring those contractors that are
 9   complying with the law that there's a level

10   playing field and there's no disadvantage to the
11   ones that want to do the right thing by their

12   workers as opposed to someone who is abusing

13   their workers and not paying them the right wage
14   rate, not housing them properly, not

15   transporting them properly.

16                  So you can see there's an
17   advantage to the employer as well as the

18   employee in this case.
19                  With that I'd divert your

20   attention to the PowerPoint.    I'll mention also,

21   real quickly just so I don't forget, there are a
22   number of publications and literature and wallet

23   cards in the back for you to take a look at for

24   employees and for employers.    One is a card that
25   shows where to go to get information.    If you


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 1   are an employer and you need to know something

 2   about your employees or something about the law,
 3   you can call this number and get an answer for

 4   it.   That's in the back.

 5                   This card is a fold card.    It's
 6   an H-2B worker card that is given to the H-2B

 7   workers as they come into the country.    As Alex

 8   had mentioned to you earlier, we are working on
 9   a card that should be out very shortly, if not

10   already out to the press, and it talks about
11   forestry workers in general, not just the

12   workers that come in under a work visa.

13                   We also have a fact sheet, number
14   49, the Migrant and Seasonal Agriculture Worker

15   Protection Act.   I'll talk to you about that in

16   just a moment in the slides.    But it goes into
17   great detail about what the requirements are,

18   what the responsibilities are.    We also have it
19   in Spanish.

20                   Oftentimes in the forestry

21   industry, transportation becomes paramount to
22   get the workers to and from the forest.     We have

23   fact sheet number 50 by number that talks about

24   transportation in forestry.    And it goes through
25   a number of different steps and different


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 1   requirements, the regulations required of one

 2   who transports forestry workers.    And that's
 3   also in Spanish.

 4                   And last by name I will -- fact

 5   sheet number 63.   And this is an application of
 6   all federal labor laws to reforestation.    It

 7   talks about the three laws you'll be seeing here

 8   on the screen in just a moment.    It goes into
 9   quite a bit of detail.    It is complex, but this

10   brochure is excellent in walking you through the
11   different laws and what the requirements are.

12   That's at the table as well.

13                   The three major laws that affect
14   the forestry worker are the Fair Labor Standards

15   Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural

16   Worker Protection Act, and the McNamara-O'Hara
17   Service Contract Act.    We acronym that or we use

18   the initials.   We call it FLSA for the first.
19   We call it MSPA for Migrant and Seasonal

20   Agricultural Worker Protection Act for the

21   second.   And we call the third one SCA, which is
22   the initials for the Service Contract Act.

23   Those are the prevalent laws that protect the

24   forest workers.
25                   Coverage is different.   The


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 1   requirements of coverage and the provisions for

 2   each of these acts is different.       Each one of
 3   them have their own set of coverage clauses,

 4   what makes you subject to each one of those

 5   particular laws.
 6                    The OSHA Act is administered by

 7   the Office of Safety and Health Administration,

 8   and I'll not be covering that in my slides
 9   today.

10                    Coverage under one law does not
11   require or guarantee that you are covered under

12   another law as an employer or that the

13   protection for the worker is the same.
14   Employers may be subject to one or more.       And in

15   reforestation on federal lands, usually all

16   three are applicable -- not always, but usually
17   all three are applicable.

18                    Under the Fair Labor Standards
19   Act, you have four major areas of enforcement.

20   One is minimum wage, currently $5.15 an hour.

21   It has not increased recently.       There is an
22   overtime pay requirement of time and a half the

23   regular rate of pay for all the hours worked

24   above 40 in the work week.       You can pay
25   multiples of that regular rate, but the minimum


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 1   multiple must be time and a half.

 2                   Child labor regulations apply to
 3   all minors under the age of 18.     And hazardous

 4   orders apply and are not allowed for anyone

 5   under the age of 18, two of which I'll mention.
 6   Chain saws in the forest.   Anyone under 18

 7   should not be operating a chain saw.     The second

 8   one is operation of a motor vehicle.     No one
 9   should be driving and transporting the work of

10   others for the farm labor contractor if they are
11   under the age of 18.

12                   And fourth, not least, of course,

13   is recordkeeping.   How else do we know what's
14   happened unless the employer keeps certain

15   records that we can use in verifying the status

16   of compliance with the workers that work for
17   that farm labor contractor?     Basic pieces of

18   information that are required in each of those
19   employer records is the name of the employee in

20   full, their permanent address -- not temporary

21   address but permanent -- their daily hours,
22   their weekly hours and total, their rate or

23   rates of pay in case they are paid more than one

24   rate.   They could be paid an hourly rate, a day
25   rate, a job rate, a piece rate.     They could be


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 1   paid bonuses.    All of that has to be recorded on

 2   a payroll.
 3                    All deductions from wages have to

 4   be recorded.    The gross wage that has been

 5   earned must be recorded, and the net pay that's
 6   actually paid to the worker has to be recorded

 7   under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

 8                    The MSPA major provisions -- and
 9   there's a number of provisions here, and I'll

10   take a little more time to go through them
11   because this applies to all farm labor

12   contractors that have forest workers on the

13   contracts in America's forests.
14                    Registration is a requirement of

15   all farm labor contractors, and that's a person

16   that engages in certain named activities.      It
17   basically -- we, within the agency, to remember

18   it easier, we call it "fresh tea" -- F-R-E-S-H,
19   T -- F for furnishing, R for recruiting, E for

20   employing, S for soliciting, H for hiring.

21                    All five of those -- a farm labor
22   contractor only needs to get a registration

23   card.   If they filed for registration, they

24   become registered, they can engage in any one of
25   those five activities.


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 1                    The sixth activity, they have to

 2   get a special authorization, and that's for
 3   transporting.    If I know, as a farm labor

 4   contractor, I'm going to be hauling workers to

 5   and from the forest, I've got to fill out an
 6   extra page or two in my application telling

 7   which vehicles I will be using.    I have to give

 8   the nomenclature of that vehicle, the serial
 9   number of that vehicle, because I cannot

10   transfer any vehicle to another vehicle on my
11   registration.    I have to tell what I'm going to

12   be using.

13                    When that is done, I can get what
14   is termed TA on my registration.    That means

15   transportation authorized.    And there will be a

16   card that tells each vehicle and which is used
17   that I can transport in.    If it's not on my card

18   and I transport in it, I'm in violation of the
19   MSPA law.

20                    So we've got FRESH and we've got

21   T for transportation.    And the last one is
22   housing.    If I, as a farm labor contractor,

23   intend to house my workers, I have to get

24   housing authorization.    And I have to be
25   specific in telling the government, telling the


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 1   Wage and Hour Division in my application or

 2   anytime thereafter when I decide I want to
 3   house, where I'm going to house, physical

 4   location, and I have to attest that it meets all

 5   the safety and standard codes.   And then I can
 6   get housing authorized on my registration card.

 7                   So registration is quite a

 8   process, but it's the way that we can determine
 9   if a farm labor contractor is performing his

10   responsibilities or her responsibilities
11   according to the law.

12                   The second area of MSPA is

13   disclosure.   At the time of recruitment -- not
14   at the time of payday, not the time they first

15   walk on the property -- but at the first moment

16   I, or one of my employees that engages in those
17   named activities, at that moment when they go

18   out looking for workers, they are engaging in
19   one of those activities, they have to be

20   registered.   And they also have to disclose to

21   that worker at that time all the terms and
22   conditions of employment.   They have to tell

23   them where they are going to be working, what

24   kind of work they are going to be doing, who
25   they are working for, how long they are going to


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 1   be there.   They have to be able to tell them

 2   what their rate of pay is going to be, and they
 3   have to be able to live by that rate of pay

 4   unless an act of God changes it.

 5                   If I promise someone $12 an hour,
 6   I've got to pay $12 an hour.    I cannot promise

 7   and I cannot pay less than any statutory rate

 8   under state or federal law.    But I can pay more.
 9   But if I agree at the time of recruitment to pay

10   more, I've got to pay it.   That's the law.
11   That's the MSPA law.   That's part of the

12   disclosure.

13                   Records are similar to the Fair
14   Labor Standards Act that I mentioned earlier

15   with one addition, and that is, on payday as a

16   farm labor contractor, I have to give a wage
17   statement to that employee that includes the

18   information about my work and my gross wages and
19   my net pay.   And I also have to put my employer

20   ID number on that check so it can be tracked

21   back to me as the employer.    That's part of the
22   record-keeping requirements.

23                   Wages must be paid at least

24   semi-monthly.   And as I mentioned before, it
25   cannot be less than statutory and it has to be


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 1   what was promised at the time of recruitment.

 2                    Safe transportation.    There are
 3   two or three items here that have to be met by

 4   the farm labor contractor if they use, or cause

 5   to be used, transportation of their workers.
 6                    The first one is safety of the

 7   vehicle.    I cannot have a vehicle that meets

 8   code and the next day something happens and the
 9   only thing I can do to get them to work is to

10   take a rope and tie the door shut.      That door's
11   got to shut on its own.    I can't take a car or a

12   truck or a van or a bus that's got a busted

13   windshield, bald tires, or no brakes or faulty
14   brakes.    All of these -- and there's a list of

15   the mechanical problems that we use as a

16   checklist when we go on site and see a bus or we
17   see a van.    We go through the checklist to

18   verify compliance is being met with those
19   vehicles.

20                    Insurance is required as well,

21   $100,000 per seat in the vehicle up to a maximum
22   of $5 million.    You don't have to buy more than

23   $5 million worth on a bus that carries 70

24   people, but you've got to have it up to the 5
25   million point.    But any vehicle with $100,000


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 1   per seat.

 2                    In many states, worker's
 3   compensation will allow you and tell you that

 4   they will protect your workers from home to work

 5   to home to wherever you carry them.    I would
 6   suggest if you use worker's compensation instead

 7   of the $100,000 per seat, talk with your agent

 8   and make sure there's no question about
 9   home-to-work coverage.    Many carriers will not

10   cover that, and as a consequence, you don't have
11   insurance according to the law.

12                    You also have to have $50,000

13   worth of property damage on the vehicles that
14   you transport in.

15                    The third and fourth aspect of

16   transportation, I mentioned earlier.    You are
17   authorized to drive and you are authorized to

18   transport.   Drivers that get authorization have
19   to have a doctor's certificate for the vehicle

20   in which they are driving and also a license,

21   whether it be a class A, class B, class C,
22   depending on the state, the size of the vehicle,

23   and so forth.    But you have to have the proper

24   license and a doctor's certificate in order to
25   be a driver.    And you have to have authorization


           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111
                                                          69

 1   from the Department of Labor to drive.         And

 2   that's the TA I mentioned to you a little bit
 3   earlier.

 4                    Safe housing.     We have a

 5   checklist under OSHA standards -- Wage and Hour
 6   does the housing inspections for the safety and

 7   health of the housing where migrant workers are

 8   kept.    And the safety requirements deal with the
 9   exterior of the facility -- the debris, if it's

10   cleared away from the housing; is the garbage
11   outside of the co-mix box, is it up off the

12   ground or if it's closing.       Or if it creates

13   infestation or harborage of rodents and things
14   of that nature, that's unacceptable.

15                    It also deals with the privies,

16   the bathrooms.    There's several in each of these
17   areas.    I'm just hitting the highlights of the

18   areas for you.
19                    The sleeping quarters, there's

20   got to be so much room between cots or beds.

21   You can't sleep closer than 30 inches from each
22   other if you're on cots next to each other.          You

23   have to be at least, I think, 18 inches off of

24   the floor.
25                    There's a whole host of different


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 1   items in the OSHA checklist for housing to meet

 2   safety and health standards.      Refrigeration.
 3   Hot water.    Laundry facility.    Sleeping

 4   quarters.    Each of those areas are part of the

 5   housing, and we do check housing when we go on
 6   site if the farm labor contractor is responsible

 7   for it.   And that's when we have to determine

 8   when we go out.
 9                    Under the Service Contract Act,

10   we have -- contracts when they are in excess of
11   $2500, it automatically comes with the

12   prevailing wage for each classification of work

13   being performed on the contract.      If you are
14   thinning and there is a wage classification for

15   thinning of brush and it's $14 an hour, you have

16   to pay $14 an hour if you work in that
17   classification.

18                    There is a wage determination
19   that should be posted in a conspicuous place for

20   all workers to see, whether it's at the job site

21   or at the housing site, as long as it's a
22   frequented place by that forest worker so they

23   can see what their wage rates are supposed to

24   be, what their fringe benefits are supposed to
25   be.   That's the most important part of the


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 1   posting requirement.

 2                   Fringe benefits oftentimes are
 3   paid as a cash equivalent, but they must be

 4   segregated on the payrolls.   They must be shown

 5   to be fringe benefit and not part of the regular
 6   rate of pay.   Some employers will pay $15 an

 7   hour, and the employee never knows that $3 of

 8   the 15 is for health and welfare benefits.    If
 9   they do not know that's what it's for, the

10   employer cannot claim that towards the fringe
11   benefit package.   It's part of the regular rate.

12   So it has to be segregated.

13                   Recordkeeping is similar, very
14   similar, but the main thing is employers must

15   keep it segregated to show what hours were

16   worked on forest land and what hours were worked
17   in free enterprise off of the forest land

18   outside of the contract.
19                   Safety and health provisions are

20   also part of this Act, but they are enforced by

21   the OSHA folks.
22                   If your contract is for $2500 or

23   less, the only appendage to that contract is

24   that you must pay the Fair Labor Standards Act
25   minimum wage, currently $5.15 an hour.


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 1                   There are two types of

 2   investigation the Wage and Hour Division
 3   conducts.   The first one is complaints.    And we

 4   welcome complaints.   Complaints that are

 5   bonafide, we go out as soon as possible.     If it
 6   is life, limb, very serious, we go immediately.

 7   If there is health problems, if somebody is

 8   driving on bald tires, we'll be there.     We don't
 9   have an option, and we don't want an option.      We

10   want people protected.   And when it comes to
11   life and safety, we will go.    We will see to it

12   that people are protected.

13                   If it's a matter of nonpayment of
14   so many hours on the paycheck, it might be a

15   while before we get there because of other

16   priorities.   We will get there.    And we will
17   take OSHA with us if it's safety issues related

18   to any of the actionable clauses under their
19   laws.   We will notify them and have them go with

20   us.   And we have done that in the past in 2006.

21                   We take complaints primarily from
22   those who have been exploited.     We also take

23   complaints from other sources.     As long as it's

24   a bonafide complaint, it's viable for us to look
25   at, we will go and look at it.     You could have a


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                                                       73

 1   competitor complain.

 2                    And if they have employees that
 3   work for them that used to work for the

 4   competitor that underbid them, and those

 5   employees are willing to talk to us about what
 6   happened when they worked with the other

 7   competitor, we would be very interested in

 8   talking to those workers about that prior
 9   employer.

10                    We also have a directed program.
11   Nationwide we have a number of district offices

12   and field offices that now, 2006 -- some before,

13   but after 2006 many offices now are looking at a
14   directed program of enforcement.    We pick where

15   we go, who we are going to see based on the

16   information given to us by the Forest Service.
17   The size of the contract, the time of the

18   contract, the location of the contract all have
19   to be considered -- and also the past history of

20   the farm labor contractor that gets that

21   contract.    If we've investigated them three or
22   four times before and they've always been in

23   violation, we are going to go see them and we're

24   going to try to give them a good offer to see a
25   judge.    It's time for them to comply with the


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 1   law.   Hopefully not three or four times before.

 2   Usually it's the first or second time and
 3   predominantly the first time.

 4                   In every investigation we have

 5   standard fact-finding elements.    After we talk
 6   with the employer, their representative, we do a

 7   records review.   We look at what they have done

 8   historically in the past on that contract or
 9   other contracts as well.    We also inspect the

10   vehicle on site if they use it to transport
11   workers.   We also look at housing if housing is

12   part of the contract and the farm labor

13   contractor.
14                   And equally to all of these, if

15   not the most important thing we do on site, is

16   interview the workers.    Without their testimony
17   to us, without their answering questions and

18   telling us what really is going on, we have no
19   idea what the truth is.    And the truth is what

20   we are after.   We are not after making up a

21   story or finding something that may or may not
22   be true.   If it's not there, we won't find it.

23   But if it's there, we usually find it in about

24   half a dozen interviews or so.    And that gives
25   us a very good picture of what's happening in


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 1   the employment relationship.

 2                   We always ask for voluntary
 3   correction when we find violations.        We want the

 4   employer to come into compliance.        We will work

 5   with the employer showing them what they cannot
 6   do.   We will attest to them if they want to do

 7   something whether or not it would be in

 8   compliance.   We work very hard in that regard.
 9   For the past, if there's back wage liabilities,

10   we also supervise the back wage liabilities.        We
11   try to do this administratively.      The employer

12   writes the check and pays the people; we

13   supervise the payment.
14                   If there's violations that pose

15   imminent danger, as I mentioned before, we do

16   our best to get them to stop.      We have no right
17   of padlocking or telling the people, "You will

18   do what I tell you to do."      But we will tell an
19   employer very quickly if we feel they need to

20   stop doing something because it is imminent

21   danger to the employee.   And we can call other
22   authorities that may have the ability to put the

23   stop.

24                   Two minutes?     Okay.    I can do it.
25                   We also partner with other


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 1   agencies.    In many of the states we partner with

 2   the highway patrol, the state labor departments,
 3   the state-plan OSHA folks.

 4                    We have other enforcement

 5   authority.    We assess civil money penalties.    We
 6   file suits in court.    We revoke farm labor

 7   contract certificates.    They can't get a

 8   contract.    They can't bid on a contract.
 9                    We seek court injunctions for

10   egregious violations.    We request contract
11   payment withholding.    When the employer says,

12   "No, I don't agree with you," and if there's

13   money there and we fully believe we are right,
14   we will withhold contract funds to protect those

15   workers.

16                    We can also go after debarment
17   under the Service Contract Act.

18                    Two minutes.   You've already
19   heard about the number of training sessions in

20   2006 and national and regional coordination, our

21   national list of contracts, our contractor
22   enforcement history.    A red flag referral

23   checklist, I mentioned that at the start.

24                    Compliance assistance materials
25   for workers include that little wallet-sized


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 1   card.   We'll have them for forestry workers, not

 2   just H-2B, very shortly.
 3                   We do partner with organizations.

 4   We encourage complaints.   We do like outreach.

 5   We love to come to forums like this to get the
 6   word out.

 7                   The fact sheet I showed you

 8   earlier, that's in the back of the room.     We do
 9   complaint investigations, direct investigations.

10   I told you about the list of contracts that's
11   given to us by the Forest Service.

12                   And this is our web page,

13   www.wagehour.dol.gov.   You can go, and there's a
14   myriad of links to that page that you can spend

15   -- literally you could spend hours going in and

16   out of links.
17                   You can call us toll free at

18   866-4US-WAGE.   And the number is 879243.    Or you
19   can go online to this long list here, and that

20   will give you the local listing of all the

21   district offices that you can call.
22                   And this is the disclaimer

23   telling you that everything I've told you is the

24   truth and nothing but the truth.    With that,
25   thank you very much.


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 1                       (Applause.)

 2                    MS. ENZER:   I want to thank
 3   everybody for their presentations this morning.

 4   I think we got a lot of very important and

 5   detailed information.    We are a tiny bit behind
 6   schedule, and we do believe in adaptive meeting

 7   management.    So since I'm up here, I get to

 8   decide what we are going to do.      So we are going
 9   to reconvene here at 3:20.      And the clock that

10   I'm using is the one that is up there.
11                    So I would like -- if you are

12   going to make a statement during the next

13   portion, what I'd like you to do is come back at
14   3:15.   And there will be two people here who are

15   going to help with seating so that it's really

16   easy and we can move through it quickly.
17                    There should be some drinks and

18   some snacks.    And please use the information
19   tables in the back.

20                    So thank you all very much.

21                       (A recess was taken.)
22                    MS. ENZER:   The first thing I

23   want to remind everybody is that we have a

24   stenographer, who is the lovely woman in the
25   lavender.   She has been writing down every


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 1   single word that is being said at this forum.

 2   That transcript will be available.     So if, for
 3   example, you were having trouble hearing with

 4   the translation equipment, we will have a

 5   written record of what was said earlier today.
 6                 The other thing I want to say is

 7   when you make your comment, I will only call you

 8   by your number.    I will not call you by your
 9   name.    And she will record the number that was

10   spoken.    So that's how that part will work.
11                 James?   We are going to have a

12   technology lesson now in hopes this next section

13   will go more smoothly.
14                    MR. JAMES:   First of all, I want

15   to apologize for the problems with the technical

16   stuff.    But I think we've got it so that we can
17   almost guarantee that you are going to hear the

18   simultaneous translation, but you are going to
19   have to follow a bunch of pretty detailed steps.

20                 The first thing is if you want any

21   simultaneous translation from Spanish to English
22   you are going to have to sit on that side of the

23   room.    I can almost guarantee you won't get

24   reception -- the reception is significantly
25   better on that side of the room.     So that's the


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 1   first step to take.

 2                   The second step is all of the
 3   transmitters have to be on number 7, on channel

 4   7.   If you are not on 7, you are unlikely to

 5   hear.
 6                   Number three, there is a delay,

 7   there's a pause while your receiver picks up

 8   signals.   So if you wave it around, you are
 9   going to be in pause the whole time.      Hold it

10   steady, and after three or so seconds, it will
11   pick up.   The other main issue is, again,

12   extending the antenna.

13                   If you follow all of that, we
14   were able to get reception just fine through

15   most of all the previous sessions on that side

16   of the room.
17                     (The above directions were

18                      repeated in Spanish.)
19                   MS. ENZER:   Okay.    Hopefully with

20   no further ado I'm going to quickly review the

21   ground rules for this portion of today's forum.
22   I'm the facilitator.   I get to manage the queue.

23   So if we get jammed up, I will jet people.

24   Again, we are asking people to focus on
25   constructive information exchange, no personal


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 1   exchanges.    Please keep it factual and related

 2   to the topic we've been discussing today.
 3                    It is a listening session, and we

 4   want people to understand that we are recording

 5   everything with the stenographer, but there will
 6   not be -- necessarily be an opportunity for

 7   follow-up questions or dialogue today.

 8                    Only one person is going to speak
 9   at a time.    And I think this is going to be even

10   more important with us switching so many
11   different people just to keep things moving

12   smoothly.    Each person is going to have a

13   three-minute time limit.    And we are a little
14   bit behind schedule, but we are just going to

15   push back the ending of the forum to try to

16   accommodate the 30 tickets that were handed out
17   for people to speak.

18                    Again, please do not clap in
19   between speakers.    We don't have time.   We want

20   to be able to go immediately from one person's

21   statement to the next.    We have 30 people that
22   we want to have a chance.    And we do have to

23   vacate this room because I believe it's in use

24   later this evening.
25                    Silence your cell phones.


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 1                    The process -- I'm going to

 2   quickly review the process for making
 3   statements.    As I said, we have distributed I

 4   think it was 30 tickets.       It is -- Where is

 5   Karen?    My understanding is that there are no
 6   more spaces.

 7                    MS. KAREN:    There are, I think,

 8   two spaces.    We went up to 32, but then four
 9   people or five people left.

10                    MS. ENZER:     So if you really want
11   to say something, the woman in the green shirt

12   can give you a ticket.     You will be one of the

13   last speakers.
14                    You should be lined up in

15   numerical order behind where those folks helped

16   you.
17                    Most importantly, the timekeeper

18   is Alden.    She is sitting right there.     When you
19   have one minute left, she will flash that yellow

20   card.    Very exciting.   That means you have one

21   minute left.    When you have no time left, Alden
22   will put up a red card.       That means you have no

23   time left and we will ask you to conclude your

24   statement.
25                    If you decided that -- I want to


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 1   remind you, if you decided that you did want to

 2   make a statement, but we don't have time and we
 3   can't accommodate you, please fill out the

 4   comment form.   Please provide the written

 5   testimony because that is another venue for you
 6   to do that.

 7                   With that I will start with

 8   number 1.
 9                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Thank you very

10   much for your time today, Secretary Rey.
11                   I want to honor the workers and I

12   want to thank the other public officials for

13   being here.   I want to draw people's attention
14   to the ghost of pesticides past, present, and

15   future.   Workers who worked in the Forest

16   Service in the 1970s and '80s were affected by
17   Agent Orange, by 245-T and 24-D.    Although 245-T

18   was deregistered in 1983, it is a legacy of TCD
19   dioxin.   It still remains in our national

20   forests, and people who work in the national

21   forests are still affected by it.
22                   TCD dioxin adheres to sediment in

23   the soil.   It was a contaminant of 245-T and

24   24-D, which both combined are Agent Orange,
25   which was used here and brought here by an OSU


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 1   professor, Mike Newton, in the 1970s after it

 2   was no longer needed in Vietnam.    There are
 3   health effects not only to workers past, but

 4   also workers present, and also to people that

 5   have lived in areas wherever there was a
 6   clear-cut and these herbicides were applied,

 7   such as cancer, spontaneous abortions, heart,

 8   lung, skin and other major organ diseases,
 9   hormonal dysfunctions, and on and on and on.

10                   And many people aren't aware of
11   the health effects or the health issues they

12   have as a result of those herbicides having been

13   used.
14                   NOAH defined TCDD dioxin as a

15   persistent pollutant in the environment.    It

16   does not -- but yet they do not test for it, yet
17   it comes up, we believe, in salmon and in local

18   water systems such as Waldport, Oregon, such as
19   the entire Coast range.   And forest workers that

20   are still working in the area, if they are using

21   water systems, could very well be affected by
22   it.

23                   Thank you very much.

24                   Also there is -- whether you are
25   working at the Forest Service or working in


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 1   private timber units -- currently private timber

 2   units are sprayed with combinations of
 3   pesticides and still including 24-D.       The inerts

 4   are a proprietory recipe.     No one knows what's

 5   in them.   The combination of Oust, 24-D,
 6   Arsenal, et_cetera -- no one knows what will

 7   happen with those.

 8                   I would like the Forest Service
 9   to test for TCDD dioxin to protect our current

10   workers and also to create the screening and
11   reparations for past workers and current and

12   past residents.

13                   I want to encourage the Forest
14   Service to continue, as they have in the Siuslaw

15   National Forest, to focus on sustainable

16   forestry with concern about oil.     The
17   petro-chemical industry really cannot continue

18   to provide these type of pesticides at a
19   reasonable cost.   They should be discontinued in

20   use in every single way.     It's a healthier work

21   environment.
22                   MS. ENZER:    Thank you very much.

23   We appreciate your time.

24                   When people come up, if you want
25   to -- this is optional -- you can state your


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 1   name and affiliation if you would like or you

 2   can just go by number.
 3                   Number 2?

 4                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Good afternoon.

 5   My name is Santiago Calzada.    I've been working
 6   forest work for over to 30 years.    And I'm here

 7   to tell about the conditions of the workers in

 8   the forest, the conditions of the workers, how
 9   we been treated from bad foremans, bad

10   contractors.
11                   The way they treat us when we

12   work, sometimes we -- we don't get overtime.

13   Sometimes we don't get paid for what we work.      I
14   say this.   If we work eight hours and a half, we

15   only get paid for eight.    We don't get paid for

16   traveling time to move from one unit to another
17   one.

18                   When somebody of the crew fell
19   down, besides the guy -- I mean, if that guy

20   needs some help, the foreman, he turn around and

21   looks the other direction so he doesn't -- so he
22   doesn't want to see somebody hurt on the work.

23   But I mean -- what I'm trying to say, he don't

24   want to be a witness that he fell on the work.
25                   I see how people working, and


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 1   they -- the foreman or the contractor never

 2   gives water for the people at work.    They have
 3   to bend over at the stream or creek or whatever

 4   it is there so they can drink water.

 5                   They -- sometimes they verbally
 6   abuse with some bad words.    They are --

 7   sometimes -- a while back ago I see how they

 8   administered physical slapping in the face and
 9   stuff like that.

10                   And I hope this is -- I hope --
11   We need some help from you guys.    I mean, from

12   someone we need some help.

13                   If somebody doesn't get paid
14   enough and they report that to the labor

15   commission, if the contractor find out or he

16   hear about it, they never get work no more.
17                   So I hope this gets better for

18   every one of us, and thank you very much.
19                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number 3?

20                   AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

21   interpreter):   Good afternoon.   My name is
22   Ricardo.   I'm from Medford, Oregon.   And I'm

23   going to make a short commentary about what

24   we've seen over the long time that we've been
25   working.


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 1                    I've worked for 14 years at this

 2   job.   I've seen a lot of things that really
 3   aren't right.    That doesn't mean that all

 4   contractors are doing these things.    There are

 5   differences, but there are many abuses against
 6   the workers.

 7                    When the workers are new, they

 8   pretend that they don't know.    They abuse them
 9   because of the way in which the people aren't

10   too knowledgeable about their job.    They pay
11   this person less, and us as well.

12                    Sometimes they want us to give --

13   to cover what the other person -- because the
14   other person didn't work out sufficiently, so

15   they make us do more work and pay us less

16   sometimes.
17                    On some occasions and sometimes

18   when we go outside this work, instead of going
19   outside -- obviously they take us to places

20   where a lot of times we are very -- or all of us

21   are all jammed into a room where we are
22   uncomfortable.

23                    The kitchen, sometimes they don't

24   give us a kitchen.    We are cooking outside at
25   the place.   And there are a lot of things like


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 1   that at the job.

 2                    It's heavy work.    Not anyone, not
 3   any new person can do it.     Otherwise they are

 4   not given the opportunity to learn.      Sometimes

 5   they put you to work and the people don't have
 6   the experience.    And that's where a lot of

 7   accidents are caused in this regard because the

 8   person doesn't know, because he was put in an
 9   inappropriate place to be working.

10                    So if that could be analyzed, we
11   would be very grateful.

12                    Thank you very much for this

13   invitation.
14                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number 4?

15   I mean -- I'm sorry.    Number 5?

16                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:    No, you are
17   right.

18                    MS. ENZER:   Yes, I know, but some
19   people have withdrawn.    Number 5?

20                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

21   interpreter):    Good afternoon.    My name is
22   Martin Coria.    I agree with what my friend said

23   regarding this subject.

24                    And what I want to say is that --
25   about this is that sometimes people get hurt at


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 1   work.   I've been -- I've got 14 years of

 2   experience in the woods also.     And regarding
 3   accidents, sometimes people get hurt.      They

 4   don't even want to take the person in for

 5   treatment.    They want to just wrap you up with
 6   some kind of rag or something and hope that you

 7   get better.    And then the next day the person is

 8   carrying around gas or trees, and the person
 9   isn't able to work, but they've got them

10   working.    That's what these people do.
11                    So we hope that we get your help

12   and try and improve the way these people do

13   things because they abuse a lot of people.
14   There's a lot of mistreatment.      And also the

15   people who are responsible, sometimes they take

16   it too far.
17                    And that's my entire comment.

18   Thank you very much.
19                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.

20   Number 6?

21                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:    We had two 5s,
22   unfortunately.

23                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

24   interpreter):    Good afternoon, my friends.      My
25   name is Salito Machorro (phonetic).      I also want


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 1   to make some brief comments regarding the

 2   contractors and the foremen.       They get offended
 3   a lot.    I don't want to hurt them, but I want to

 4   talk about some anomalies that exist.

 5                    I've been working in the woods
 6   for ten years.    I'm not going to say working 15,

 7   20, 30 years, but it hasn't been that long, but

 8   it's been ten years.    During my ten years I've
 9   worked for different contractors and also

10   different foremen.    So mostly I've noticed
11   there's a lot of mistreatment, not just a few

12   people, but lots of people.

13                    And as the other man said who
14   spoke, sometimes people use very, very rude

15   language with us.    They shouldn't speak to us

16   like that.    But mostly I think the foremen and
17   the contractor, they should know how to treat

18   us.   They know what to do.      They just do the
19   opposite, completely.

20                    Another point is that some of us

21   who are here should also know these people have
22   worked a long time in the forest.       We don't get

23   paid for holidays.    They should pay us for that.

24   Sometimes when we go past 80 hours of what we
25   have to during that two-week period, they don't


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 1   pay us overtime either.    And they know that

 2   that's an anomaly they are committing towards
 3   us.

 4                    They take advantage of us.     They

 5   know that a lot of us are undocumented people
 6   without papers.    And if we say anything about

 7   it, they say, "Hey, watch it, or we are going to

 8   fire you."    That's really wrong because we
 9   should receive dignified, respectful treatment

10   instead.
11                    Thank you very much.

12                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you, sir.

13   So was that number 6 or the duplicate number 5?
14   Number 6, then.

15                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

16   interpreter)    Good afternoon.   My name is Erika,
17   and I am from Medford.    I am married to an

18   employee.
19                    In my commentary I want you to

20   know that what the foremen say about the

21   conditions in the places they are supposedly
22   working without their family are not the

23   reality.    Many times family members have to put

24   up with insults from some of the other people.
25   And mistreatment is not just on the work site


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 1   but also in the places where they stay, like in

 2   hotels.
 3                    One of the previous speakers also

 4   said many times people don't get their breaks

 5   that are necessary.    Although they have a right
 6   to them, they are not given to everybody ever.

 7   The only break they get is the lunch time.      When

 8   they get this time, normally if they are working
 9   in an area and let's say that area is ten

10   minutes away from their transportation, it drops
11   them off and they have to walk ten minutes from

12   the transportation point.    During that

13   ten-minute period, time is running and it's
14   being taken away from their lunch time.

15                    So say they have half an hour for

16   lunch, then they only have ten minutes to eat
17   because it's ten minutes back to where the food

18   is and then ten minutes back to the area.      And
19   they only get ten minutes to eat.      I don't think

20   that's fair.

21                    Sometimes they have to work out
22   of town.    They have to stay at very small

23   hotels.    There are only one or two beds.    As

24   someone said before, they put many people in
25   there.    I don't think that's fair.


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 1                    They don't allow them to cook

 2   inside the rooms.    Sometimes they have to stay
 3   there for up to two weeks.       And during that

 4   period of time they have to figure out how to

 5   cook and what to drink.
 6                    I would like to suggest also in

 7   regards to supervision -- I would like to

 8   request that if there is supervision, I hope
 9   there is supervision, and I hope that the

10   supervision doesn't end with supervisors and
11   foremen.    If you see -- if they come to you,

12   they are going to come to you and they are going

13   to try to cover up what's really going on.
14                    That's all.     I hope my comments

15   have some effect and help out.       Thank you.

16                    MS. ENZER:    Thank you very much.
17   Number 7?    Number 7 is gone.     Number 8?

18                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through
19   interpreter):    Good afternoon.     My name is

20   Angela, and I'm the wife of a gentleman who

21   works in the hills.    He has worked there for ten
22   years.    And they are always alone.     They go to

23   work away.    The children grow up by themselves

24   without their dads.    And for me, well, then for
25   them not to be treated well at work, you know,


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 1   it's a sacrifice for them to have to go away to

 2   work.   They should be treated well.      And that's
 3   what I ask.

 4                    And also, he tells me that there

 5   aren't any eye protection.      They come home with
 6   their faces and eyes all scratched up.       They

 7   don't get anything for hearing.      They don't get

 8   protection.    They have to buy it.    Or if they
 9   are given something for their eyes, this is sold

10   to them.    It is sold at the price they set.       So
11   they should be given that.

12                    And they should be treated well,

13   above all.    And that's all.    That's all.   Thank
14   you.

15                    MS. ENZER:   Number 9?

16                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:    My name is
17   Debbie Miley.    I'm the executive director for

18   the National Wildfire Suppression Association.
19   We currently represent about 200 private sector

20   contractors across ten states in the United

21   States.    Most of our members provide fire
22   suppression services during fire season and

23   other forestry activities such as precommercial

24   thinning, hazardous fuels reduction, and
25   reforestation work during the off-season.


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 1                   I think, first of all, I would

 2   like to say that the majority of our
 3   contractors, whom we would like to believe are

 4   legitimate contractors, share the concerns of

 5   all the workers talking in this room today.
 6                   One of the things, however, that

 7   I think needs some clarification is that fire

 8   fighting activities are not a recognized
 9   activity of the H-2B program.   And if people are

10   using H-2B workers to fight fires on public
11   lands, they are doing so illegally.

12                   We've got three areas of concern

13   that I would like to express to you.   The first
14   one is monitoring of the programs, including the

15   H-2B.   While the H-2B worker program is intended

16   for great purposes, we believe the agencies need
17   to get the current program under control before

18   moving forward with any additions or changes.
19   We also believe that the bigger issue is the use

20   of undocumented workers and that that is the

21   issue that is creating the real problems.
22   We believe that the agencies are monitoring only

23   those companies that are law abiding and legally

24   performing work because they are easy targets as
25   they are in the locations they say they are and


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 1   easy to find.

 2                    This is not going to solve the
 3   problem.    The real issue is those transient

 4   companies that fly under the radar, and more

 5   emphasis needs to be placed on monitoring
 6   compliance of those companies.    The agencies

 7   need to make sure they have all the resources

 8   and training they need to ensure that all
 9   contractors are abiding by contract

10   requirements.    You are the policing agency in
11   this matter.

12                    The second issue is the cause and

13   effect of insufficient monitoring.    The
14   undocumented -- the use of undocumented workers

15   does not allow for an even bidding field for

16   those who are complying with all required
17   regulations and trying to run a legitimate

18   business.    The contracting atmosphere does not
19   create an environment that fosters the agencies

20   to use the most qualified, cost-effective

21   resources, but rather to encourage those who
22   perform illegally to continue to do so to obtain

23   the bid.

24                    The only way to solve this is by
25   using an RFP or an IDIQ kind of contract which


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 1   are already vehicles that are in existence.

 2                   Lastly, but not least, is the
 3   safety of the workers.    We believe there is a

 4   huge safety issue involved in using undocumented

 5   workers in this industry as they may not be
 6   properly trained and there is a language barrier

 7   that can create serious problems.

 8                   Our members are trying to do
 9   everything they can to ensure this issue is

10   addressed.   Many of our members voluntarily
11   check social security numbers in addition to the

12   basic requirements of an employer to require the

13   I-9 and proof of documentation.
14                   Our members also are required to

15   ensure that their crew bosses speak not only the

16   English language, but also the language of the
17   crew boss.

18                   While we applaud the agencies'
19   efforts so far, we hope that they will continue

20   to look at these issues as well.    Thank you.

21                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number
22   10?

23                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Good afternoon,

24   gentlemen.   I'm Lee Miller.   I'm the owner of
25   Miller Timber Services.    We do forestry,


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 1   logging, and fire fighting.    We've been

 2   contracting for 25 years.    At the present time
 3   we are logging about 15 million board feet of

 4   sawed timber a year, mostly off the Siuslaw

 5   National Forest.   We plant trees, mostly on
 6   private ground, and we also have two national

 7   2-IS wildfire crews.

 8                   After 25 years in this
 9   business --

10                   MS. ENZER:   Please speak into the
11   microphone.   Thank you.

12                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   After 25 years

13   in this business, I hear the same problem coming
14   over and over again.   It's always easy to say

15   let's get more enforcement, let's get more

16   enforcement, let's get people out there, but the
17   problem comes that it's logistics of it.    The

18   contractor -- bad contractors are moving in
19   quickly and moving out quickly, taking advantage

20   of these workers who you just heard from, and

21   they are gone before you guys even know they've
22   been there.   And this has been happening for the

23   last 25, 30 years.

24                   Most -- the problem comes that
25   most -- the contracts are done by low bid or


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 1   what is called best value, which is just another

 2   name for low bid with a fancy name.     So this
 3   gives the competitive edge to these fly-by-night

 4   contractors.    They come in, take advantage of

 5   the workers, do the work cheap, and move away,
 6   move on.   Us local contractors who are in the

 7   area, we are at a competitive disadvantage.

 8                    So if the Forest Service was to
 9   do all their contracting by negotiated requests

10   for proposals -- which they have done some,
11   which is some 2-IS crews and other contracts --

12   and only deal with long-term, multi-year,

13   multi-project contracts, the up-front costs of
14   putting these contracts out of course would be

15   large, but --

16                    I have to go faster.   Anyway,
17   what would happen is over the long term there

18   would be -- the long-term benefit to the workers
19   and the local community would increase over the

20   present method of contracting.

21                    With the present way of
22   contracting, workers can't be paid top dollar.

23   We can treat our workers very well, pay them top

24   dollar, but we can't retain them because we
25   don't have long-term contracts.    Contracts are


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 1   very short, maybe two weeks, one month in

 2   period.   We need very long-term contracts.    I
 3   would say up to four or five years in time

 4   frames.   This way we could train and retain

 5   local workers and return to the local economy.
 6   These people would live in the forest -- in the

 7   areas of the forest, of the national forest.

 8   Thank you for your time.
 9                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number

10   12?
11                   AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

12   interpreter):   Good afternoon.   My name is

13   Marcos.   I come from Medford, Oregon.    I have
14   worked in reforestation in trees for 15 years as

15   my friend put it.   The truth is what I think and

16   what I want is please hear us out, because it's
17   not fair in regards to the laws that exist and

18   the work that is given us and the abuse.
19                   For example, we are not paid.

20   When they say they are going to pay us $12, they

21   pay us $8.   For example, at the hotels when you
22   go to a hotel, one room should be for two

23   people.   They stick six people in there.

24                   At the hotel -- you can't cook
25   inside the motel because there is no kitchen.


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 1   You have to cook outside in the cold.      And

 2   that's not fair.
 3                     Something else, when you drive --

 4   when you go to work, the foreman says, "You know

 5   what?    Whoever wants to work tomorrow, I'll meet
 6   you at five, four in the morning at

 7   such-and-such store and pick you up there.       My

 8   van will be there.     And you know how to get
 9   there.    If you can walk, you can drive, ride

10   your bikes -- I don't know how you are going to
11   get there.    I'll meet you there at such-and-such

12   hour.    I'll pick you up tomorrow."

13                     So I think it's not fair that we
14   have to be sacrificing ourselves to help them

15   out to do the work and then they don't -- have

16   them respond in that fashion.     So what we need
17   is for you to help us.

18                     And then when you go to work in
19   the morning, you drive -- it's a three-,

20   four-hour drive.     You don't get paid for that.

21   You show up, and then they say, "You know what?
22   The area is snowed over.     It can't be worked."

23   The foreman says, "Let's get out.      Let's get

24   out."    Okay.   We get half an hour, one hour, and
25   then they don't pay you other than the half hour


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 1   or the hour that you worked.      And then the

 2   foreman says, "Well, I stopped in the area.         I
 3   completed my work.     I get paid.    You all get

 4   out."   That's it.

 5                    And then something else, when you
 6   go to somewhere else, maybe 20-, 30-hour drive

 7   away, you don't get paid for your drive time.

 8   So what are you going to do?      You just report
 9   the time?    They say no, we don't get paid for

10   that.   So that's not fair.
11                    So then we go home.     The bills

12   are waiting for us.     And how are we going to pay

13   them when we don't get our money?
14                    So it's fair that you should help

15   us.   Thank you.

16                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.    Number
17   13?

18                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through
19   interpreter):    Good afternoon.     My name is

20   Francesca.    I'm from Medford.    I'm the wife of a

21   forest worker.     I'm here to talk to make some
22   comments about what these people have just said.

23   There's a lot of other abuses.       They don't treat

24   us like people.     They treat us like slaves.      I
25   have some relatives, nephews and a brother that


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 1   he made comments to me they are not treated

 2   well.
 3                    Friends say, "I'll go work out of

 4   town."    They get there, very little time, it

 5   might be four in the morning or six or seven.
 6   They come back and they are tired and whatnot,

 7   and maybe all they get is two or three hours of

 8   work.    It would be fair for you to help them,
 9   help them out with transportation.

10                    For example, the other man was
11   saying if they don't want to go very far to pick

12   them up, they are putting gas in their own cars.

13   If you don't show up, they fire you and don't
14   give you work.

15                    There are a lot of people who

16   wanted to come but don't have the courage.    They
17   are afraid they will get fired.    This always

18   happens.
19                    I would like for you people to

20   really look deeper into this because, you know,

21   people say, "No, no, everything's fine," but
22   things aren't being done like they should.    I'm

23   just letting you know that people say they are

24   okay, but there's many abuses behind all of
25   this.


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 1                    Thank you very much.

 2                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.    Number
 3   14?

 4                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:     Good evening.

 5   My name is Orlando Romero.       I worked for the
 6   Forest Service.    And I guess I've got to give

 7   thanks to Ron who says he's got 37 years with

 8   the Forest Service.    It made my day.     I retired
 9   at 31 and a half.

10                    Anyway, I work for the Forest
11   Guild.    The Forest Guild is a national

12   organization of more than 600 foresters and

13   allied professionals who advocate the ecology of
14   sound forest practices on millions of acres of

15   public and private lands that we manage.

16                    Our community forestry program
17   empowers residents in rural forest-dependent

18   communities to make and participate in land
19   management decisions.    Through this successful

20   work, the Guild has paid considerable attention

21   to issues regarding the use of guest workers and
22   undocumented workers for labor in the forest.

23   For example, the Guild has partnered with the

24   Forest Service to initiate a forest worker
25   safety certification program that has resulted


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 1   in 60 percent reduction in workers' compensation

 2   insurance rates for the forest workers in New
 3   Mexico and also increased the ability of locals

 4   to compete for and win government contracts.

 5                   Some of the issues and problems
 6   -- in our research, the Forest Guild has

 7   identified these issues and problems.   The

 8   forest industry in the Southeast is a relatively
 9   new niche for Latino migrants and immigrant

10   workers.   It is largely unregulated and of low
11   visibility.   Lack of regulation and government

12   oversight leaves Latino workers vulnerable to

13   exploitation.
14                   The forest industry requires a

15   large labor force for mostly low wage jobs which

16   it draws from legal H-2B visa holders and from
17   illegal undocumented workers.   Large operations

18   use mostly H-2B workers, while small
19   subcontractors more often use undocumented

20   workers.   Some contractors with less than nine

21   workers are exempt from many regulations.
22                   The H-2B guest worker program

23   lacks rules that would govern the hiring and

24   treatment of workers.
25                   Most forest work in the Southeast


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 1   takes place on private land to which federal

 2   government contracting regulations do not apply.
 3                   What can be done?    The Forest

 4   Guild believes the following reforms are

 5   necessary.   Both top-down and bottom-up reform
 6   should be used.   The Department of Labor, the

 7   IRS, the U.S. Immigration, and OSHA need to

 8   increase their enforcement of existing laws that
 9   affect forest workers.

10                   The H-2B guest worker visa
11   program needs to be changed.    H-2B workers

12   should have the same rights as H-2A workers.

13   The Forest Service and the BLM need to identify
14   and eliminate contracting provisions that

15   support worker exploitation and unfair worker

16   practices.
17                   My next paragraph is in praise of

18   the Forest Service, but I'm out of time.
19                   MS. ENZER:   It looks like you

20   might submit written comments.     Thank you.

21   Number 16.
22                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:    Good afternoon.

23   My name is Meg Heaton, and I'm a staff attorney

24   at the Northwest Workers Justice Project.       We
25   are a nonprofit organization in Portland that


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 1   represents low-income contingent and immigrant

 2   workers in their employment disputes.
 3                  I'm here this afternoon to tell

 4   you about my experiences using the Service

 5   Contract Act as an enforcement mechanism for
 6   wage claims for forest workers.

 7                  We have a case with six clients

 8   who were hired by a contractor from Montana who
 9   was hired to do road maintenance work in the

10   Siuslaw National Forest in the summer of 2005.
11   The workers worked from June to September, were

12   promised 12 -- 11 to 12 dollars an hour,

13   averaged 71 hours a week, sometimes worked over
14   90 hours a week for weeks on end.

15                  Were paid at the beginning --

16   were paid a total of $2,000, but never received
17   more than that although the contractor kept

18   promising them that their wages were on the way
19   as soon as they got paid by the Forest Service.

20   At the end of the day, they never got more than

21   that $2,000 apiece for all their work for the
22   summer and went to the Oregon Bureau of Labor

23   and Industries for help seeking their wages.

24                  BOLI recognized that this was a
25   Service Contract Act type of problem and sent


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 1   them to the Department of Labor.    The Department

 2   of Labor started an investigation just weeks
 3   after the work had ended, but it took, I think,

 4   five months for the Department of Labor to

 5   actually make a complaint against the
 6   contractor.

 7                  The contractor stipulated that he

 8   owed the workers the money, and that stipulation
 9   was approved by the administrative law judge who

10   presided over the claim.
11                  And now it's seven months after

12   that decision was entered, and the money that's

13   owed to my clients is still sitting in the
14   federal government's bank somewhere.    And I'm

15   told that it's routine for these types of claims

16   to take about a year to get paid, a year from
17   the date that the judge authorizes the

18   disbursement until the funds are actually
19   disbursed.

20                  And I would argue on behalf of

21   those clients that that's much too long, and I
22   think we can do a better job for them.

23                  MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.

24   Number 17?
25                  AUDIENCE MEMBER:    I'm Enrique


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 1   Santos, and I've been working for the past five

 2   years with the Alliance of Forest Workers and
 3   Harvesters and have been doing a lot of

 4   interviewing of workers.    And you've heard some

 5   of the Latino speakers here.     They are not
 6   professional speakers.    And they have a whole

 7   bunch of stuff to tell you, but of course you

 8   freeze up when you come here.
 9                    But I'm not going do that.     I'm

10   going to talk to you about all the workers I've
11   talked to in the past five years.     I've been

12   strictly focusing on Spanish-speaking forestry

13   workers.    These are just a few of stories I've
14   heard.    I've heard horrible, horrible stories.

15                    What's apparent is with the

16   Service Contract Act, the Forest Service goes
17   ahead and issues these contracts to the cheapest

18   bidder.    And unfortunately over the past 20
19   years what you've gotten is an increase in

20   unscrupulous contractors, which makes it more

21   difficult for contractors who do want to do
22   things right.

23                    What's happened is that the

24   contractor hires somebody in the Latino
25   community, and then that person becomes the


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 1   person in charge and that's who instills the

 2   fear.    That's the person who tells the workers,
 3   "If you don't like it, get out.     If you get

 4   hurt, I don't want to hear it.     If you get hurt,

 5   you need to go somewhere else."     This is a
 6   standard pattern.

 7                    You don't see 500 workers here

 8   today because they are terrified they are going
 9   to be identified.    And once identified, they are

10   blackballed.    Period.   There's no more work for
11   them.

12                    The overwhelming majority of the

13   Latino forest workers used to be agricultural
14   workers in the traditional sense.     But since ag

15   has been reduced over the years, they went -- it

16   was like a glove.    It fit perfectly into their
17   lifestyles.    They liked doing this work, and

18   they started working in forestry.     They started
19   planting trees first.     But then the abuses

20   started happening.

21                    There's a perfect, wonderful
22   solution for this.    Monitoring does work, but it

23   can't be done the way you've been doing it right

24   now.    You've got reports.   I read some of the
25   reports that everything was great, 100 percent


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 1   compliance.   Well, you've got some workers here

 2   who were valiant that came here to tell you that
 3   that's not true.   That's not happening, and

 4   there's a lot of problems out there.

 5                   You heard from the lawyer.    When
 6   you have to go out there and work for eight

 7   hours, ten hours, twelve hours and all you get

 8   to do is drink water from streams, because you
 9   heard from one of the ladies whose husband tells

10   her, "We don't even get to eat.    If we get 10
11   minutes, that's a luxury."

12                   I've seen them -- I've been out

13   there in the forest with them.    They make fun of
14   me, but these are great stories.    I'm not a

15   forester, but I was out there because that's

16   where you need to reach them.
17                   So the enforcing agencies, if

18   they really want to get to this, they need to
19   either hire some of these workers with all this

20   vast experience so they can do the monitoring.

21   They can go into an area and know what the
22   problem is.   They wouldn't have any fear to

23   report what's really happening.

24                   You sting a couple of these
25   suckers, and I bet you that everything will be


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 1   straightened out in no time.

 2                    Once that's done, ag jobs could
 3   pass.   And ag jobs could legalize this workforce

 4   for people who are seeking -- there's only legal

 5   people working out there.     Well, there are not
 6   only illegal people working out there.       These

 7   are hard-working people who really care for the

 8   forest.    And without them we will have no
 9   forests.    Thank you.

10                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.    Number
11   18?

12                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Thanks for

13   having me here to speak once again.     I've done
14   this for a few years.    My name is Wayne

15   Fitzpatrick.    I'm a forest practitioner with 31

16   years' experience.
17                    I've seen a lot of changes

18   through the system of reforestation.       I think
19   we've come a long way from what I've seen

20   throughout the Northwest in workers' rights to

21   what is going on on the land.     But we still have
22   issues.

23                    To my fellow working brothers,

24   I've been talking about this to the suits since
25   '99, and we have to keep repeating our stories


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 1   and our issues and our rights because it just

 2   doesn't happen overnight.     And that's to my
 3   brothers and sisters that work on the land.

 4                    Reforestation work is very

 5   dangerous at times and considered -- in the
 6   Forest Service book, handbook, it says arduous

 7   labor.    It's extensively hard labor.     And

 8   society thinks it's a very basic labor, which
 9   actually, I feel it's the most important work in

10   our century at this time.
11                    The Forest Service contracts at

12   the present time are very detailed and

13   multi-tasked.    Even experienced workers get
14   confused on the hill.    Certification and/or

15   training is required.    So this is a skilled

16   workforce, not just a labor workforce, and not
17   just a temporary workforce because the work that

18   they are doing is going to have an effect
19   throughout the centuries that we live on this

20   earth.

21                    The workforce and families need
22   to be treated with respect, and that's by better

23   wages and rights and monitoring of how this work

24   is being done in more detail.     Thank you.
25                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.    Number


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 1   19?

 2                  AUDIENCE MEMBER:    Good afternoon.
 3   My name is Erin Halcomb.   I've worked in the

 4   woods for six years.   I've worked on both

 5   private land and public land planting trees,
 6   thinning, burning, fire-fighting, building

 7   trails, decommissioning trails.

 8                  Today the first thing that I want
 9   to speak to is that forestry work is termed

10   nonskilled labor.   Wayne talked about that
11   briefly, but implementing prescriptions,

12   implementing projects that take years and years

13   and years to develop and then the thought that
14   the work on the ground should be done for the

15   cheapest price and it's nonskilled labor has

16   really led to an underclass society and also, I
17   believe, to a lot of injuries.    Not training

18   workers because it's nonskilled labor leads to
19   injuries.

20                  I would encourage the Department

21   of Labor to eliminate forestry from the H-2B
22   nonskilled labor permit.

23                  Also, I performed 40 interviews

24   for the Alliance of Forestry Workers for
25   Non-Latino Forest Workers in Southern Oregon.      I


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 1   can tell you foreign worker employment is

 2   adversely affecting wages and working
 3   conditions.

 4                   I would like to inform you that

 5   out of the 40 workers I interviewed it became a
 6   common theme that the non-Latino workforce can

 7   no longer compete on public lands contracts.

 8   They have sustained themselves over the years on
 9   private lands, mostly for fire plan recipients.

10                   I would encourage the Forest
11   Service to look at how you package the contracts

12   to provide numerous multi-skilled and long-term

13   work for local workers.   Thank you.
14                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number

15   20?

16                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   I'm Leonard
17   Houston.   My wife Lois and I, we are not new to

18   the world of forest industry contracting.
19   Twenty-six years ago we spent our honeymoon in

20   camp performing a BLM contract.    We've spent

21   over 15 years working in the world of helicopter
22   logging with over five years of that as an

23   assistant project manager with Columbia

24   Helicopters.   We are now actively engaged in an
25   ongoing stewardship project in the Tiller Ranger


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 1   District in Southern Oregon.

 2                   Having Lois at my side, we joined
 3   with Stan Petrowski and our community and we

 4   formed a local labor force.    In our community we

 5   found a surplus of skilled labor.
 6                   MS. ENZER:   Sir, I'm sorry to

 7   interrupt you but the translators are having

 8   trouble.
 9                   Will the timekeeper allow just a

10   little bit more time?   Thank you.
11                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Due to

12   contracts being bundled into large packages,

13   single bidding wars which are then broke down
14   into subcontracts, most locals find themselves

15   watching as out-of-area labor performs the jobs

16   that are vital to our communities.
17                   The high cost of bonds, license,

18   and lengthy contracts make hurdles most of us
19   can't jump.   Stewardship contracts, they are a

20   great tool but hold the same problems --

21   needless proposals, comments, award, a lot of
22   waiting, and huge costs to everyone.    We need

23   contracts in smaller size, realistic bonds, with

24   local labor requirements.
25                   Programmatic scheduling, as I


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 1   understand it, allows direct pay with national

 2   forestry departments acting as contracting
 3   officers allowing labor to be subcontracted

 4   locally with payment dependent upon satisfactory

 5   completion.
 6                   Our rural communities depend on

 7   our forests, but most important is our forest is

 8   depending on us.    I feel that by bringing forest
 9   workers to our forest as members of our

10   communities with equal pay, treatment, and
11   rights will ensure their safety, health, and the

12   future.   Thank you.

13                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number
14   21?

15                   AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

16   interpreter):   Good afternoon.   My name is
17   Alberto Gallegos.    Thank you for giving us this

18   opportunity to talk to you.    Many blessings to
19   you and to the contractors.    Blessing to us.

20   Many blessings to them as well.

21                   We all deserve mutual
22   understanding between ourselves, which often

23   unfortunately we fail to meet.    The contractors

24   who personally I have been used as a foreman
25   paying me what is paid a worker, not a foreman,


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 1   using people to sign the paper and the foreman's

 2   paperwork when I've been the foreman and I
 3   haven't been recognized as such.      That's

 4   something that has pained me.

 5                   And I didn't want to talk about
 6   it much, but when I found out that many of these

 7   cases are happening among contractors -- it's

 8   painful for somebody to be carrying out a job
 9   and to receive his pay and yet to be paid less

10   because the foreman must be receiving his old
11   foreman's salary not a worker's salary.

12                   So I would like for you to be

13   able to help us so this will not keep happening,
14   so that the contractors can see who has the

15   experience to supervise and to grant that person

16   one of those positions.   Otherwise he cannot do
17   so because it is not fair to be doing a job

18   which is not remunerated.
19                   On the other hand, the abuses as

20   my coworkers were saying, I also strongly echo

21   that.   Bad words that many foremen use against
22   the workers, forcing us to carry heavy loads.

23   And so then I only used to do that with my

24   animals who couldn't talk.      We are human beings.
25                   So then I would like for you to


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 1   help us to understand -- I believe we all are

 2   human, that we can all understand each other,
 3   contractors, workers.     You all can help us.

 4   It's an important thing for people to be able to

 5   understand each other, contractors and workers.
 6   So we ask you for your help, please.       God will

 7   bless us.    Thank you.

 8                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.
 9   Number 22.    Is Number 22 still here?

10                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Yes.    Thank you
11   for this opportunity.     My name is Stan

12   Petrowski.    I've lived and worked in the woods

13   since the Vietnam era.     And I'm here as an
14   advocate for local rural communities and for the

15   forest itself.

16                    I see the potentiality for a real
17   viable solution for everybody meeting each

18   other's needs if these contracts were only put
19   within the reach of the people that do the work.

20                    These people are suffering abuse

21   because they are working for someone else.       I
22   would like to see the local community members,

23   the workers, the participants -- These people

24   are from Medford.    They live here.   I would like
25   to see something put in place that would allow


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 1   training and equipping and retooling these rural

 2   communities so that we can fix what's broken in
 3   the woods.   Thank you.

 4                    MS. ENZER:    Thank you.   Number

 5   25?   Number 25 going once.
 6                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

 7   interpreter):    Good afternoon.    I am a common

 8   laborer.   And as many of my coworkers have said,
 9   I've been working in this field for about ten

10   years, maybe a little bit more.
11                    In the time I've been working in

12   the woods, I never worked with a contractor who

13   has given us breaks.    Many don't even give us a
14   half hour for lunch.    Many times you are far

15   away from others, and you are not counting the

16   time that you are given.      If you start at nine
17   and you finish at seven or leave at seven or

18   eight and then that half hour in the interim
19   doesn't count.

20                    And it's happened that once I was

21   put to work ten, twelve dollars.      I worked for
22   one month.   And that month, after I had a bunch

23   of experience, I was told, "You know what?

24   There's no more.    We are only going to be able
25   to pay you $8."    And that was about eight or ten


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 1   months ago.   So that's all I wanted to say.

 2   Thank you.
 3                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number

 4   26?

 5                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   My name is Nick
 6   Cicero.   I've been working in the woods for

 7   about five years, predominantly on private lands

 8   through various grants and just private
 9   landowners, but have recently had to step into

10   the federal arena for our employment.
11                   And what I have noticed -- well,

12   it's very apparent that the price that they want

13   to pay per acre is physically impossible to do
14   for the wages that we are required to pay.     So

15   the prevailing wages that we must pay our

16   workers and want to pay them, frankly, it's
17   impossible to do the acre price.

18                   So, I mean, if the federal
19   government has any ambitions of actually

20   changing anything -- I think they are pretty

21   aware of that -- they need to take a look at not
22   awarding low-priced bids if they want to make a

23   real change, which I highly doubt they do

24   because things are functioning fine for them.
25   They are getting the job done cheaply.


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 1                    But if they do want to change it,

 2   they need to -- you can't do it at the prices
 3   that they can get exploited labor for.      Thanks.

 4                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you.   Number

 5   27?
 6                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

 7   interpreter):    Good afternoon.   My name is

 8   Miguel Avon.    I've come here to talk about the
 9   bosses and the foremen, about an operation

10   performed on me.    I've come to say that if you
11   don't know English, you can't read English

12   writing, and still they take advantage of you

13   because you are not aware of this and you end up
14   doing what the boss wants you to.

15                    And then foremen, when you are

16   new at the job, you start and you don't know how
17   to do the job.    You are just given the tool that

18   you need.   And then when time goes by, you get
19   your check, you see that you are getting paid a

20   little bit.    And then if they see the new

21   workers aren't working hard, they are stopped
22   and sometimes are even fired.

23                    And then when it's time to leave

24   work, a half hour, 45 minutes goes beyond that,
25   beyond your quit time, and then you get a half


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 1   hour lunch.    But we are only given 10 or 15

 2   minutes to get our lunches.
 3                    That's all.    Thank you.

 4                    MS. ENZER:    Thank you very much.

 5   Number 28?
 6                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:    Good afternoon.

 7   My name is Marko Bey.    I work for Lomakatsi

 8   Restoration Project.    We are a nonprofit and for
 9   profit contracting outfit involved in forest and

10   watershed restoration and workforce training on
11   both private and public lands.      And I also serve

12   as the board of directors -- president on the

13   board of directors of the Alliance of Forest
14   Workers and Harvesters.

15                    As a non-Latino worker of Euro

16   descent, Euro-American, I'm going to echo a lot
17   of what the Latin American workers have

18   expressed.    I've worked nearly 20 years in
19   forestry as a member of the workforce, a worker,

20   a foreman, and now a contract administrator

21   where I manage a 40-person workforce currently
22   on stewardship contracts.      We are involved in

23   best value.

24                    I've experienced being in hotel
25   rooms with six and seven people, not getting


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 1   paid for drive time.   I've worked on, say, a

 2   30-person crew, maybe five white workers, and a
 3   lot of those abuses happen in every contract

 4   with every contractor.

 5                   It's an institutional issue that
 6   goes beyond just one contractor or another

 7   contractor.   Even the best contractors that I've

 8   worked for have had to cut a lot of corners and
 9   are almost forced into having to do those type

10   of activities to their workforce to cut corners.
11                   Low bids -- it's a real struggle

12   to stay in business, as we are starting to find

13   out on best-value stewardship contracts right
14   now where we are -- try to be more socially and

15   ecologically responsible crew we can be to our

16   workers, we still have to try to cut a lot of
17   corners.   Completely legal, but we like to pay

18   drive time, and talking to the Department of
19   Labor here today, there's no requirement for

20   that drive time.   In between units on the job,

21   you never get paid for that.
22                   So as a crew, trying to live up

23   to those ethics and pay those wages, we are

24   struggling to make the bids even on these best
25   value contracts.


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 1                   So in closing I would just say

 2   the wages are low.    Our whole life as forest
 3   workers from when you get off work to prepare

 4   for the next day, you've got two to three hours

 5   getting your gear together, getting ready for
 6   the next day.   A huge amount of your time,

 7   outside of being on the ground, requires a lot

 8   of work, preparation.
 9                   The wages are too low.     And as

10   Dr. Moseley said earlier today, I was part of
11   the clear-cut reforestation era.     Now it's the

12   restoration era.    The contracts are technical.

13   The thinning prescriptions are very detailed.
14   Our sawyers are botanists.    These people need to

15   be paid better.    The wages need to go up, and

16   that needs to happen soon as we move into this
17   new era, new era for the landscape and for the

18   workforce.   Appreciate your time.
19                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.

20   Number 29?

21                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Yeah.    I've
22   heard a lot of bureaucratic doublespeak and

23   hollow political rhetoric this afternoon.      In my

24   opinion it all fails to address the fundamental
25   situation facing forest workers today which is


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 1   the fact that the low bid federal system

 2   employed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of
 3   Land Management fosters an environment that

 4   gives rise to cut-throat contractors and

 5   exploitive business practices.
 6                   And while it's mildly comforting

 7   to hear that token attempts are being made to

 8   enforce prevailing wage laws, it doesn't even
 9   begin to get to the root of the problem.   And

10   the federal agencies that oversee public land
11   know this.   They realize this.

12                   I've been a forest worker for

13   close to 20 years.   And in that period of time
14   I've seen wages plummet, working conditions

15   deteriorate, and workplace injuries sky-rocket.

16   Every year it gets more brutal and dehumanizing
17   to work in the woods.   And I only expect this

18   trend to continue because I realize myself and
19   members of my class are seen as expendable by

20   the blood-sucking parasites in Congress.

21                   So you can organize all the
22   subcommittees and panels that you want, but as

23   long as forest workers are viewed as nameless,

24   faceless statistics, then nothing fundamental
25   will change and the animosity that my class


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 1   feels towards those in power will intensify

 2   until we are forced to shake off the chains of
 3   our oppression.

 4                   MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.

 5   Number 30?
 6                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:   Thank you for

 7   the opportunity this afternoon.    My name is

 8   Charley Knox.   I was raised in Riddle, Oregon,
 9   which is a mining and logging town.    And I've

10   been a forest worker since the late 1960s when I
11   got out of combat.

12                   One of the things that you've

13   heard this evening over and over again is they
14   are commanding and demanding some respect here

15   -- at least they are pleading for it, if not

16   commanding and demanding.    I think if we as
17   forest workers realize that our power is in our

18   numbers, we can attain a hell of a lot more than
19   the politicians can.

20                   No offense to you gentlemen up

21   here, but I think over the decades I've done the
22   work in the woods and elsewhere in the

23   workforce, it's clear and apparent to me that

24   without workers standing up for their rights, as
25   you are doing now, there will be no justice.


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 1   There will be no peace.    No one will be happy

 2   with the results unless the workers, I think,
 3   employ the democratic spirit of fairness.

 4                    And that's what they have been

 5   asking for here.    You know that.    I think in all
 6   your hearts here you do want that to happen.        I

 7   don't care if you are a contractor or just a

 8   fellow worker.
 9                    Unless we embrace liberty and

10   justice for all in our present allegiance, we
11   will not have it.    And it has to be in every

12   heart in this room.    Period.

13                    Thank you for the time.
14   Appreciate it.    Now get busy, and we'll get busy

15   with you and behind you or in front of you -- or

16   as Zapata said:    When the people lead, you cats
17   will follow.

18                    And I think the people have got
19   to start doing just that.     I think we are

20   prepared to do it.    I think we are serious about

21   it.   I think we also have to get busy organizing
22   in the spirit of democracy, which I fought for.

23   Thank you.

24                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you very much.
25   Number 31?


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 1                    AUDIENCE MEMBER:   My name is Mike

 2   Wheelock.    I'm president of Grayback Forestry.
 3   Thank you for the opportunity to speak here.

 4   Our company was incorporated in 1979.     We

 5   provide wildfire suppression, fuels management,
 6   and forestry services.    We've got offices

 7   located in Grants Pass, Medford, La Grande, and

 8   John Day, Oregon, and Missoula, Montana.
 9                    We have 150 full-time employees

10   that are employed with us.    They are paid
11   family-wage jobs far exceeding what we had heard

12   earlier today.    They have health insurance.

13   They have benefits.    And they have a 401(k)
14   retirement plan.    We also hire an additional 200

15   individuals for our fire season.     And we

16   concentrate on hiring local workers.
17                    This year we tried to jump into

18   the H-2B program.    We are in favor of the
19   program.    This year we applied for 20 additional

20   personnel to complement our workforce.     And due

21   to quotas being met, we were denied.     We feel
22   that there's some contractors abusing this

23   system and therefore we lost our slots.

24                    Approximately 15 to 20 percent of
25   our workforce is Hispanic.    Most have been


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 1   employed with us eight to 15 years.    Many are

 2   here as a result of the amnesty in 1986.     These
 3   individuals are very experienced and an enormous

 4   asset to our company.

 5                    However, many are aging.   And the
 6   demands of this industry and physical work is

 7   taking a toll.    There's not a huge influx of

 8   legal workers applying for work.    Competition
 9   for skilled laborers is intense.    We are hoping

10   that Congress passes the President's immigration
11   reform bill and that the guest worker program

12   increases for our industry.

13                    However, proper resources must be
14   available to enforcement agencies so they can

15   adequately enforce existing laws as well as the

16   new ones.
17                    The forestry industry in the West

18   has been plagued with every kind of imaginable
19   abuse.    My mom is Hispanic, and it just -- the

20   years I've been in this business, it just -- it

21   just drives me insane.    I just don't even have
22   words for it.

23                    The enforcement of the Service

24   Contract Act, OSHA laws, fire training, and
25   immigration laws has not always been effective.


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 1   Illegitimate companies using stealth nomadic

 2   tactics have been rewarded by a low bid system
 3   and proliferated in this industry.       The end

 4   result is poor working conditions for workers.

 5                    We are a testimony that companies
 6   can abide by the laws of the land and compete in

 7   this industry.    We feel that there needs to be

 8   more enforcement of the existing immigration
 9   laws, more oversight of the Service Contract and

10   H-2B programs.    If this happens, the working
11   conditions and wages of the workers will be

12   improved.

13                    In the 1980s and '90s there was a
14   concerted effort among agencies to work together

15   which resulted in better conditions and

16   enforcement.    That model needs to be mirrored
17   today.    Using --

18                    MS. ENZER:    Sir?   Thank you.
19   Sorry.    Two more.   Number 33?

20                    AUDIENCE MEMBER (through

21   interpreter):    My name is Hugo Peregrino.     I
22   work for a company, Mt. St. Helen's

23   Reforestation.    I've been doing this kind of

24   work for about 20 years.      What I've heard from
25   all of the Latino people is true.       I think the


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 1   Department of Labor should do more to check up

 2   on all of these violations that have been
 3   happening.

 4                   Also, the Forest Service has a

 5   lot to do with all of these problems I think
 6   because we can go and do these jobs.     We see

 7   these jobs.   These people are getting paid a lot

 8   less than they should be.    I would like to see
 9   some improvement in all of this because -- I

10   mean, since I've been here these kinds of abuses
11   have been happening.   I've seen them.    And I

12   don't think it's right.

13                   Also, I've worked in the state of
14   Washington, and I know there are many people

15   having problems.   People that are driving,

16   there's no seat.   In 2004, people died.    In
17   2005, 103 people died.    I think there's a

18   problem there, a very big problem there that
19   needs to be fixed.   And the Department of Labor

20   needs to do something to stop all of these

21   problems.
22                   I would like you to have --

23   regarding the government contracts, even if

24   people go out and check the areas and interview
25   the workers -- because everything they have said


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 1   is true and, I mean, we've been suffering with

 2   this for 20 years.   And this will keep happening
 3   if something isn't done.

 4                   That's all.    Okay.   Thank you.

 5                   MS. ENZER:    Thank you very much.
 6   Number 33.   Number 33?

 7                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:    That was 33.

 8                   MS. ENZER:    Then number -- Did I
 9   skip number 32?   Number 34?

10                   AUDIENCE MEMBER:    Under Secretary
11   Rey and other panel members, my name is Anna

12   Morrison, and I am a resident of Lane County,

13   Oregon.
14                   And I am wanting to state this

15   first off is that we have all these people here

16   that have commented in regards to abuses that
17   they have endured.   And I guess it would be

18   prudent upon all of us that before we leave that
19   we actually find out the employers' names if we

20   are truly interested in enforcement, because if

21   these abuses have taken place, we need to be
22   able to follow through and comply.

23                   Number two, as a former employer

24   of the industry and also a timber business owner
25   in the past and being reliant upon Hispanic


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 1   workers in order to do contracts we've had with

 2   the Forest Service as well as the BLM, we took
 3   our responsibility very seriously in regards to

 4   the overall welfare and benefits of our

 5   employees because without them we wouldn't have
 6   been able to even apply for the contracts.

 7                   I will have to agree with a lot

 8   of the comments that were made today in regards
 9   to how cumbersome contracting is anymore, the

10   rules and regulations that have to be met.
11                   And the other thing I think that

12   bothers me the most by those of us who really

13   try to comply with the law, because I am still
14   fairly engaged with a lot of people in the

15   industry who are trying to do a good job, is

16   that we can't compete with the contractor
17   wannabes.   Those are the people that are out

18   there that are undermining what we are trying to
19   do.   They don't know the laws that you've talked

20   about in regards to wage and hour, housing,

21   transportation, and all of those things on
22   overtime.   They don't know how to keep records.

23   They don't know about workman's comp, and they

24   don't know about OSHA laws.
25                   That has an impact on all of us


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 1   that do know those things and want to comply.      I

 2   can say of the people here in this room, none of
 3   them can say that I was their employer.     And for

 4   that I'm glad.    I think that my former employees

 5   would always say that I was a good employer.
 6                    The stewardship contracting piece

 7   is killing us.    It's killing all of us.   We were

 8   told when this first went through that this was
 9   a tool in the toolbox.    And I think we are

10   finding out that it isn't.    The implementation
11   of that is a nightmare.

12                    Really true responsible industry

13   people are not wanting to bid on these contracts
14   anymore.   We've got watershed councils out there

15   that are bidding that don't have the expertise

16   and/or the knowledge.    And I think I've actually
17   shown documentation to some of you in regards to

18   the abuse on stewardship contracts at the very
19   beginning of the program.

20                    The other things is that those of

21   us who belong to Associated Oregon Loggers have
22   a certification program.    And we do trainings on

23   Saturdays for all of our employees around sound

24   practices in the woods.    Who would have ever
25   dreamed back in the '80s when I became involved


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 1   in this that we were going to have to train a

 2   logger because in reality most of us knew what
 3   we were supposed to be doing in the woods.    But

 4   we do comply with that certification, and our

 5   employees even have interpreters so they will be
 6   able to understand what's going on.    Thank you.

 7                    MS. ENZER: That you very much.

 8   This concludes the comment period of this.    I
 9   want to thank everybody for their comments and

10   their candor, for their bravery of coming
11   forward and talking about what you experienced

12   when you worked in the woods, and for those of

13   you who work with people who work in the woods
14   coming forward and making these statements.      I

15   hope that you will continue to speak out and

16   that you will use the comment cards.
17                    We are not concluded, though.

18   Mr. Rey and Mr. Passantino are going to do some
19   closing remarks based on what they have heard

20   today.    So I would like to ask -- I notice some

21   people are starting to get up and move around a
22   whole lot.    I would ask that people try to keep

23   that to a minimum because I think we would

24   really like to hear from them.    And we do --
25   we've allocated about 15 minutes for their


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 1   closing remarks.

 2                  And also, the people at the
 3   information booth I believe will stay in the

 4   room until 5:15 so you can continue to pick up

 5   some information.   And I think that if people do
 6   have specific issues that they would like to

 7   address, I think the right individuals are here

 8   for that.
 9                  So with that, do you know which

10   one of you would like to go first?
11                  MR. PASSANTINO:   I want to thank

12   everyone for all of their comments.    It goes

13   along with what I guess I was trying to bring
14   out during my initial talk, which is the

15   importance of communication.

16                  We at the Wage and Hour Division
17   work with numerous advocacy groups, employer

18   groups, employee groups for people to bring
19   issues to our attention.

20                  This is a good start.    I

21   encourage you to continue this discussion with
22   local offices of the Wage and Hour Division.      In

23   the sort of over -- the one issue that seems to

24   stick out to me was the unscrupulous contractor
25   and the fly-by-nights and the people who are in


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 1   and out.   If you know that that's going on, you

 2   can call the Wage and Hour Division office and
 3   tell us where it is and we can follow up on it.

 4                   Part of the problem with this

 5   type of work is that it does happen quickly and
 6   people are in and out very quickly.    And if

 7   there are no workers on the site and there's not

 8   -- we can't do the transportation inspections.
 9   It's hard to do housing inspections.    It's hard

10   to get the interviews.   So that's why our
11   partnership with the Forest Service has been

12   helpful, because they are giving us locations,

13   dates, names, and that kind of thing for us to
14   go conduct our investigations.

15                   So I encourage you to continue

16   this dialog with your local Wage Hour offices.
17   And if you have any complaints that you would

18   like to make -- don't get mad, Ed -- but Ed is
19   sitting in the back.   He brought a bunch of

20   complaint intake forms with him.    He would be

21   glad to get the required information.
22                   Thank you all again.   Your

23   comments were very helpful.   I will take them

24   back to Washington and discuss them with the
25   appropriate people in our organization.    Thank


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 1   you.

 2                   MR. REY:   First of all, thank you
 3   for spending this much time with us and thank

 4   many of you for your personal courage in

 5   offering your testimony knowing that you might
 6   put yourself in some personal vulnerability for

 7   doing so.

 8                   One of the reasons I mentioned
 9   our announcement of our 2007 Farm Bill proposal

10   this morning is because what's included in that
11   proposal is not a series of ideas that we

12   generated at the Department of Agriculture in

13   Washington D.C. inside the Beltway.    Rather they
14   are ideas we heard about from people just like

15   you in 52 sessions that we conducted around the

16   country, including one here in Oregon just like
17   this.   So your ideas, your thoughts, and your

18   suggestions are important to us.
19                   This is an area of Forest Service

20   policy where we've spent some time this year in

21   trying to make some improvements.    And it's
22   clear that there's a lot more that needs to be

23   done.   But it is also clear we are going to

24   spend a lot of time in 2007 and 2008 as well.
25                   We are looking at a different


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 1   business model for how we can contract to deal

 2   with -- to achieve forest management services.
 3   We've been working with some of the sponsors of

 4   this session to form that new model.    And we

 5   will be testing it this year on three national
 6   forests, the Colville National Forest in Eastern

 7   Washington, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest

 8   in Northern California, and the Allegheny
 9   National Forest in Pennsylvania.

10                  What we are trying to do with
11   this new business model is see if we can respond

12   to some of the problems that the current

13   contracting system creates in terms of making it
14   more difficult for local communities to

15   participate in contracts as well as some of the

16   abuses that we see occurring in low bid
17   contracts.

18                  Beyond our efforts, we will be
19   introducing legislation -- reintroducing

20   legislation because we sent it forward last year

21   -- called the Healthy Forest Partnership Act.
22   That legislation will in part provide us an

23   opportunity to see if Congress will give us the

24   authorization to contract not only with private
25   contractors but with other units of government


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 1   including local communities.   It strikes me that

 2   with that authority there's a good chance that
 3   in some areas local communities might put

 4   together larger contract proposals with some of

 5   their local people as subcontractors to develop
 6   yet another business model.

 7                   One of the issues we may need to

 8   address, if Congress considers that legislation,
 9   is the prohibition that we currently work under

10   to reject contracts simply because we think the
11   bids are too low, that they are unrealistically

12   low given the work that needs to be done.

13                   In the past we have tried to
14   reject bids like that suspecting that probably

15   either the work wouldn't get done well or it

16   would be done through the abuse of contract
17   workers.   Unfortunately, legal interpretations

18   of the current contracting laws indicate that we
19   are not allowed to reject a bid simply because

20   we think it's too low.   So there's another area,

21   I think, where there's an opportunity to work
22   with Congress to broaden our authorities to have

23   the discretion to do that.

24                   As I think you all know, Congress
25   will be considering comprehensive immigration


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 1   reform this year.    And I'm sure one of the

 2   issues that will be discussed is the current
 3   status of the H-2A and H-2B guest worker

 4   programs.    And many of the things you testified

 5   to here today are things we will take back and
 6   work with others in the administration as we

 7   form the administration's response to the

 8   various alternatives for comprehensive
 9   immigration reform.

10                    So I want to thank you for
11   spending the time with us, for providing us the

12   insights that you have.    I think that if you

13   talk to any of your colleagues who were at some
14   of the Farm Bill listening sessions after

15   they've had a chance to review what we proposed

16   today, you'll see that there's a pretty good
17   correlation between what we heard and what we

18   did.    And I hope we can duplicate that effort in
19   responding to what you've told us here today.

20   Thank you very much.

21                    MS. ENZER:   Thank you both so
22   much.    And thank you, Ron, as well.   I think we

23   can do a round of applause at this last stage.

24                       (Applause.)
25                    I was asked one question.    People


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 1   wanted to know where the transcript that the

 2   stenographer has been dutifully recording would
 3   be made available.   And I believe we are going

 4   to try to make it available on the Forest

 5   Service website.
 6                  What we will do is one of the

 7   sponsoring organizations, for those of you who

 8   chose to register and provide an email address
 9   or an address, when we find out exactly where

10   that will be, we will let you know.   So
11   hopefully for those of you who were unable to

12   provide that detailed information, maybe one of

13   the other intermediary groups can get it to you.
14                  We will also post that transcript

15   on the website -- both the websites that were

16   announced at this forum.   So that's on the
17   Sustainable Northwest website, as well as on the

18   Ecosytem Workfoce Program website, so where you
19   found that information for this forum.     So we

20   will continue the collaboration in that way.

21                  I do not know exactly when that
22   will be available.   I would think it would take

23   a little bit of time for that to get prepared,

24   but a few weeks.
25                  Well, I think that this is the


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 1   end of it for today.    We are going to keep the

 2   room open until 5:15.    I think today was a good
 3   day for looking at what Dr. Moseley said, that

 4   forest worker issues are forest health issues.

 5   And I think we heard that all day today.    So
 6   thank you all for coming.

 7                    (Applause.)

 8                    (Conclusion of forum at
 9                     5:00 p.m.)

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           C & C COURT REPORTING       541/485-0111

				
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