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What do farm workers really get paid? Because Alabama has cracked down on immigration, articles are

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:25 AM
Original message
What do farm workers really get paid? Because Alabama has cracked down on immigration, articles are
saying crops are rotting in the fields. You hear the usual crap about Americans won't take those jobs.
My guess is they won't because the wages are so low.

Does anyone here know?



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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. i've read of about $10-$12 hr.
Stoop labor, hot sun, insecticides, herbicides, quotas, etc.

Sounds like a vacation in hell to me.
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RockaFowler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. No way is it that high
The ones here in Florida get paid by the bushel. It's horrible working conditions, yes. But that pay is way off
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. here is where i read it the other day (take it for what it's worth):
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 08:46 AM by ret5hd
admittedly, one source from one farmer doesn't mean much. But this was an article about a farmer that tried hiring "local".

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/us/farmers-strain-to-...

<snip>
Still, Mr. Mattics said, he cant help feeling that people have gotten soft.

They wanted that $10.50 an hour without doing very much, he said. I know people with college degrees, working for the school system and only making 11 bucks.

A mismatch between employers requirements and the skills and needs of the jobless repeated across industries has been a constant theme of this recessionary era. But here on the farm, mismatch can mean high anxiety.

</snip>

edit:typo
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. in fact, the article states the min. wage under H-2A (legal migrant worker pgm) is $10.50.
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Saphire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. yes, I think it's done piece work. The more you pick the more
you make....so get out there and work your ass off and maybe you can reach min. wage. Oh, don't forget to bring the kiddos too. Welcome to Republican America.
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I really doubt it is that high
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 08:39 AM by n2doc
And I'll bet no payroll taxes are paid either. The work is hard but what I've seen offered is minimum wage, and it is true people are very reluctant to work hard labor for that.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. see above.
granted, the wages cited are for legal migrant workers. i have no idea how much may be offered for under-the-table work.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. In colorado, it's about that much
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 08:48 AM by mainer
That's in an article about farmers having problems finding harvesters there. And no one's taking the jobs in CO either.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20111007/NEWS/11100946...
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. Maybe if we turned farm work into a livable job we wouldn't have problems with unemployment.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. It's seasonal, so requires workers who always move
That's where migrants are the only ones really able to do the work. They're able to move north and south, depending on the harvest season.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. That's no excuse.
If it's not fair to ask that of an American it isn't fair for anyone. Farmers have to figure out how to create a system that serves their needs and those of their employees. Maybe farms need to form a collective that has work year round for their employees.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. Sounds like the floor is minimum wage but you can get more by piece if you are efficient at it.
There's also a pay problem that arises when using inmate labor, said Huffmaster. For farmers who pay a piecemeal rate-based on the amount harvested-inmates unaccustomed to farm work may be unable to make more than minimum wages.

"You have to be able to produce enough to get paid enough, or you're just going to get minimum wage and you're not getting a crop harvested," said Huffmaster.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/227258/20111007/alabama...
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Right. Mexican blueberry rakers are really fast and efficient
Here in Maine, the farms use a mix of Mexicans and local kids for harvesting blueberries. My sons were among the local kids, and they were in awe of how fast the Mexicans were, earning three times what the Americans did.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. Practice makes perfect.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
12. Don't confuse Farm Workers with migrant labor (pickers). One drives the tractor, the other doesn't
Some number of people work on the farm year round, they might make ten or twelve bucks an hour, maybe even more. Then the crop comes in and the migrant pickers come to harvest it. These people make just as little as the farm owner (rarely a family or even a "small" farmer) can get away with paying them. They, the migrants, are treated worse than dogs in much of the country.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Good point. "pickers" was what I was referring to. nt
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. I have worked in the fields with migrants - here is how they were paid.
I am not and I have never been a farmer. However I used to have a fishing partner who was a Farmer and I have worked in his fields during picking time to help him out so we could get away and fish.

So here is how we did it. First off the crop was poll beans. The beans were picked by hand and the pickers filled wood baskets (called Bean Hampers) with 32 pounds of beans. The hampers held about a bushel of beans. Then the hampers were picked up in the rows by the carriers. The carriers would wear a bow across their shoulders and hook one hamper on each end to balance the load. The carrier would then carry the two hampers of beans to the end of the row where the truck was parked. I sat on the back of the truck with a scale and a couple of hampers of beans. As the carriers brought the filled bean hampers to the truck my job was to weight each one and if necessary bring them up to the 32 pounds they needed to be. Just as an aside, the hampers had to weight 30 pounds each when they arrived at the buyer's warehouse. Because beans lose water as they are shipped they also lose weight, so to make the necessary 30 pounds at delivery the hampers were filled to 32 pounds in the field. Back to the truck. The carriers would bring the beans, I would dig through the hamper to make sure no rocks were put in to make weigh, and then add or subtract a handfull or two of beans to make weight and toss the hamper on the truck. The carrier would then be given 4 paper tickets, just like movie theater tickets. The carrier would keep two tickets for his work and go back into the field and give the other two tickets to the pickers who had actually picked the beans.

At the end of the day everyone who had a ticket could cash it in. I did not do the payout but I believe they were being paid $0.50 per ticket. So if a picker wanted to make $10 an hour all they had to do was pick 20 bushels of beans an hour - 740 pounds of beans an hour. Do you think you could pick 740 pounds of beans in an hour? I don't think I could do it in a day.
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