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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
10/14/1978--Introduced. National Agricultural Bargaining Act - Repeals the Agricultural Fair Practices Act of 1967 and establishes an agricultural bargaining policy substantially identical but expanded. Enumerates the unfair practices a handler of agricultural products is forbidden to commit under existing law, and adds a list of unfair practices an association of producers may not commit, including: (1) refusal to bargain in good faith with a handler over prices, terms of sale, and compensation for products produced under contract; (2) coercing or intimidating a handler to breach or terminate marketing contracts and association membership agreements; (3) circulating false reports about an association's or handler's finances, management, or activities; and (4) conspiracy to commit an unfair practice. Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to accredit an association for bargaining with respect to the specified agricultural products of its members with handlers designated individually or by production or marketing area or by some other appropriate classification. Defines good faith bargaining for the purposes of this Act and specifies the conditions and procedure for the accreditation of producer associations. Requires each accredited association to submit an annual report to the Secretary. Directs the Secretary to notify any association of the ways in which he believes it has ceased to maintain accreditation standards, and to allow it a reasonable time to answer or correct the deficiencies noted. Provides a procedure for revocation of accreditation. Provides for the assignment of association dues and fees. Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) provide mediation services when bargaining between a handler and an association reaches an impasse; and (2) establish a procedure for compulsory and binding arbitration whenever such an impasse will result in a serious interruption in the flow of products to consumers, or will cause substantial economic hardship to the producers or handlers involved in the bargaining. Provides an administrative procedure for processing charges of unfair practices. Authorizes the Secretary to institute inquiries on his own motion, and to commence a civil action for injunctive and other relief. Specifies the Secretary's investigative powers. Establishes civil and priminal penalties for the violation of this Act.