Union leader opposes sugar amendment
Robert Martinez, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, has written Congress in opposition to an amendment to change the sugar program that is expected to be offered if the farm bill comes to the House floor.
Martinez said the amendment developed by Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., “singles out U.S. sugar farmers and would take away their non-recourse loans while leaving those loans in place for 27 other agricultural commodities.”
“It would also mandate additional foreign, subsidized sugar to be imported into the U.S., which would drive down prices to 1980’s levels resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs,” Martinez said.
“U.S. sugar farmers and sugar workers deserve a level playing field and should not be forced to compete with farmers subsidized and supported by foreign governments whether by direct loans, cash incentives or foreign ethanol programs,” he said. “U.S. sugar policy supports good union jobs in rural and urban areas of the country. The U.S Congress should not support outsourcing these jobs to countries with low labor and environmental standards.”
Although the Sweetener Users Association and other backers of the amendment have said the current sugar program leads to higher taxes and has reduce employment in companies making sugar-containing products, Martinez said “candy companies did not move out of the U.S. because sugar prices were too high, they moved to pay lower wages.”
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