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Why Americans Won't Do Dirty Jobs

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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:46 PM
Original message
Why Americans Won't Do Dirty Jobs
Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. No one knows this better than Randy Rhodes, president of Harvest Select, which has a processing plant in impoverished Uniontown, Ala. For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Most of his employees are Guatemalan. Or they were, until Alabama enacted an immigration law in September that requires police to question people they suspect might be in the U.S. illegally and punish businesses that hire them. The law, known as HB56, is intended to scare off undocumented workers, and in that regard its been a success. Its also driven away legal immigrants who feared being harassed.

Rhodes arrived at work on Sept. 29, the day the law went into effect, to discover many of his employees missing. Panicked, he drove an hour and a half north to Tuscaloosa, where many of the immigrants who worked for him lived. Rhodes, who doesnt speak Spanish, struggled to get across how much he needed them. He urged his workers to come back. Only a handful did. We couldnt explain to them that some of the things they were scared of werent going to happen, Rhodes says. I wanted them to see that I was their friend, and that we were trying to do the right thing.

His ex-employees joined an exodus of thousands of immigrant field hands, hotel housekeepers, dishwashers, chicken plant employees, and construction workers who have fled Alabama for other states. Like Rhodes, many employers who lost workers followed federal requirementssome even used the E-Verify systemand only found out their workers were illegal when they disappeared.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/why-americans-wont...
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Drale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. If he was their "friend"
he would pay them more then minimum wage and not make them work 10 or more hours.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Yep - and if he were "trying to do the right thing" he'd do the same
like pay a freakin' decent wage for hard work, follow labor laws, and provide benefits.
What an asshole.
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MedicalAdmin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I'm going to guess that he is a subcontractor / producer
who has to meet production and price benchmarks for companies like Walmart (et. al.).

And as such, although he might want to pay a decent wage, he can't. Think about that the next time you snatch up food at the bargain basement (this comment is directed at those who have the money to make food choices and not those who have no choice - if you have no choice, then do what you have to brothers and sisters).

It's seems to be a problem for lots of folks. Right wing revenge politics hits another innocent victim.
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Uh, maybe because they're dirty?
Or because they don't pay shit?
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. It isn't necessarily the job itself. It's the lack of pay.
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Sirveri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:59 PM
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4. Let me work 6-8 hours for 12$/hr and I'll do it myself.
But I won't work for slave wages.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. "Uniontown" - That's ironic.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. Miserable conditions at a non-living wage. Sounds attractive to me.
Do I really need the sarcasm emoticon?
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Not only a non-living wage, but usually a SUB-MINIMUM wage,
which is *supposed* to be illegal.
From the article: "Since heading into the fields at 7 a.m., they havent stopped for more than the few seconds it takes to swig some water. Theyll work until 6 p.m., earning $2 for each 25-pound basket they fill. The men figure theyll take home around $60 apiece."

SIXTY bucks, for 11 hours of back-breaking work.

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toddwv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
8. Excellent article.
I think that there is definitely more than a "it's just beneath me" attitude. Let's face it, these jobs are physically brutal and low-paying without benefits. Let's say you have an American like Jesse Durr who is determined and motivated. He sticks around and works hard every day. How long do you think it's going to be before someone notices and he is hired away from the field by someone looking for an employee who is obviously that committed and reliable? Not very long.

Illegal immigrants are perfect for field-work. Why? They are stuck in that line of work because they don't have the opportunity to advance no matter how hard they work or how little they complain.

So you want to know why food prices are rising even as gas prices haven't really moved that much? The anti-immigrant sentiment that always follows a deep recession is causing us to break a system that has been in place for well over 1/2 a century. It's not going to be fixed overnight and unless we change something in the next few years, we can expect manually harvested food prices to continue going up and up.
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Earth Bound Misfit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. Fuck Biz-niss Week & Fuck the author of this drek...
Businesses turned to foreign labor only because they couldnt find enough Americans to take the work they were offering.

:nuke: :nuke: :rant:
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