The beginning of a trajectory of advocacy: HB 2691

In November of 1996, Oregon voters passed an initiative to raise the hourly minimum to $6.50 by 1999. In addition to other provisions, House Bill 2691 exempted growers from paying the minimum wage in piece-rate systems in which 50 percent of the work crew was making the minimum wage—thus excluding the other part of the crew from earning the minimum. HB 2691 did not reach the Oregon House floor and was not enacted due to pressure from Causa, PCUN and other groups that mobilized. This success showcased the need for an organization like Causa and the power of the immigrant community in Oregon.