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February 22, 2012 | last updated February 23, 2012 10:41 am

Lawmakers mull removing egg farm union rights

A bill that would remove the right of workers at a Turner-based egg farm to unionize has received preliminary approval in the Maine House of Representatives.

The bill, LD 1207, would eliminate workers' collective bargaining rights at egg farm operations formerly run by DeCoster Egg Farms, according to the Sun Journal. Federal law prohibits agricultural workers from unionizing, but Maine passed a law in 1997 allowing DeCoster workers to unionize following concerns about abuse. Workers' efforts to unionize, however, failed. Supporters of LD 1207 cited DeCoster's decision to lease egg farm operations to Moark LLC, a Land O'Lakes subsidiary, as a reason to overturn the law. Last November, Moark agreed to a 10-year lease of Quality Egg of New England in Turner, Dorothy Egg Farm in Leeds and Mountain Hollow Farms in Winthrop, with an option to buy the facilities. Later that month, Jack DeCoster announced he was giving up control of all of his egg farm operations.

The bill still faces additional votes by the House and the Senate.

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