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Oregon AFL-CIO approved a resolution supporting NEXT Renewable Fuels' proposed biofuel facility.

COURTESY PHOTO: PORT OF COLUMBIA COUNTY - NEXT Renewable Fuels plans to build a biofuel production facility at Port Westward.Oregon AFL-CIO, one of the state's largest unions, has passed a resolution in support of NEXT Renewable Fuels.

Almost 200 delegates representing the affiliated unions of the Oregon AFL-CIO unanimously approved a resolution of full support for the proposed biofuel production facility at Port Westward.

The resolution is another strong endorsement NEXT has received from labor groups, with the Labor Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon endorsing the project last month.

"The project will provide opportunities for all, including local residents, to enroll in apprenticeship programs, therefore providing access to high skilled, high wage, career work opportunities," the AFL-CIO resolution stated.

The resolution was proposed by the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, both of which have agreements in place with NEXT.

NEXT has signed a letter of understanding with the construction union for building the facility. The company also signed a neutrality agreement with UFCW Local 555 in 2019, which stated NEXT will maintain neutrality in any potential unionization process; allow UFCW to hold meetings on site; and share employee contact information with the union — as long as UFCW does not make disparaging remarks about NEXT or picket on site.

NEXT estimates its project will create more than 3,500 jobs during construction and 240 permanent jobs during operation.

NEXT's project "is good for union jobs and has outstanding benefits to the environment," the AFL-CIO resolution stated.

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