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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:32 PM
Original message
Immigrant workers keep farms running
Source: Bennintong Banner

One of the factors that helps make Vermont agriculture successful is the use of Jamaican contract laborers who enter the United States on the H2-A visa program. The H2-A program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The House Agriculture Committee recently became aware of the fact that many of the farmers and orchard owners who employ H2-A labor have had increasing difficulty navigating the application process with more hoops to jump through and requirements to meet.

This may be the result of two issues that have gained national attention over the last few years -- unemployment and immigration/undocumented workers. It is important to recognize that the H2-A program affects neither. H2-A workers are fully documented and the farmers and orchard owners who want to use H2-A workers have to go through a rigorous bureaucratic process to prove that U.S. workers are not being displaced.

In order to qualify, farmers and orchard owners need to demonstrate a need for these workers and that U.S. labor is not available. They have to advertise for help in Florida, Mass., and New York newspapers, spending many hundreds of dollars, usually with no results. Jamaican laborers cannot displace U.S. workers and there is a requirement that they be treated identically, so there is no economic benefit to employing Jamaicans. One orchard owner in Cornwall makes it a policy to hire any American who asks for a job

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Unfortunately, he reports that most American workers do not come back after their first day of work.

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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. What does that say about American workers?
If they came on the first day that means the pay wasn't a deterrent.
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. It's possible to go for a day and realize that what you thought might be OK pay for the work isn't.
Most people have no idea what the work entails, or may think that if the pay is low, the work must not be as vigorous as some farmwork.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. If you were to double the amount of pay they'd likely come back
people will be willing to suck it up and do most any kind of work, they just balance the misery against the pay.

What amount of misery you're willing to endure for x amount of pay varies by people and situation, but everyone does it in some way.

Likely the Americans have or feel they have other options that are preferable.
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primavera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Probably true
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:56 PM by primavera
But, if you did double the pay, then the price of the produce at the supermarket would double and most Americans would simply buy cheaper imported produce rather than support their own agricultural workers. Money knows no patriotism, especially when we've given all of our money to a handful of billionaires, leaving the rest of us too poor to buy anything but the cheapest of the cheap goods.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. It says that the wages and treatment are too low for anyone to be working there
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 11:48 AM by w4rma
unless they are completely desperate and without other options. Near slave labor.

Visa holders will endure the work because they send the money back to their nation where the cost of living is much much lower.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. I believe this. I worked as a farm laborer in Iowa when I was a teen.
The only thing that kept us there was the fact that all our friends were also working in the same fields and this made it fun. The work was hard and dirty. We did not get paid anywhere near what we should have and it was temp work because when the job was done the farmer did not need us anymore until next year.

That is hardly the kind of work American workers are interested in getting. Once you are grown up and supporting yourself you need more than that. Us kids did it for a little extra spending money.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
3. Raise the wages if you cant get Americans to do the work.
Or admit that the bad economic situation of immigrants, allows for them to be paid less, exploitation.

The argument is the wage should be the lowest price someone will do the work for. Race to the bottom, since that inspires putting people on the brink of starvation to accept lower wage. At some point the wage will go low enough that they wont work and will steal or take what they need, that is revolution line.

The labor price is not calculated by value of work, but by availability of labor.

The whole equation of labor price, has nothing to do with value of work, but how many people that are poor enough to be willing to do the work.

So profit works to create poverty for more profit, and cheaper labor, race to the bottom.

Only when demand was more then production was there a counterbalance of always some other work needed to keep that out of the equation. So to solve the problem, the equation says people are not needed, and death of workers becomes goal, leading elements to remove any social safety factors like health care.

It is pretty simple, to rebalanced capitalism, people have to die, till there are not enough workers, to get the pool of excess labor not creating unliving wages. That is why the instinctual action of people wired into capitalism entity is creating ways that hurt peoples ability to live. Although what if production is always above the demand of work of one person, as it will eventually be in a better situation, then there is no fix except no people. Although that is the formula not what is correct.

Or the capitalism has to be seen for what it is, a system that does not work for society in a more production then demand system.

There are ways to create jobs that do not add productivity, in infrastructure, new energy, education, arts, and health for instance, but that is not profitable, but it takes labor out of the system, again making the living wage higher, and demand above production. That requires fighting the instinctual actions of capitalism.

And actually the creation of entire sectors like finance, that do not contribute anything are part of that, but done under capitalism rules, they only move money to a few, and do not help society. So society should direct some production to health, education, infrastructure, and things like new energy, to bring production below demand again.

Since demand can not occur, when people are at non living wage, and then production has nowhere to go, and lays off workers, lowering wage more, creating less demand. Until only fix is removal of workers.

Or give people money to create demand, weather they work or not, then many people wont work, and labor price will go up again, and so will demand.

Then some say that's not fair,
Then don't work and help the system.

If it is not fair for someone to get something for nothing think of it this way. What they are getting the money free for is to allow someone that wants to work to have something to do, and some demand to fill.

And I am due beer and travel money, and many experiences, and that still hasn't been sent, so what is the complaining about. I am beginning to wonder if for spite they are going to bring everyone to my level of unjust compensation to fulfill justice, and you don't want that.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. The term not working to help society, is more accurately defined
as not working in a production sector above demand. It would not include those that volunteer or work in many sectors that do not create more production then demand, like arts, health care, or even areas of counseling or community avocation or work in various roles that add to quality of life for many individuals in society.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
9. cheap fruits and veggies = brutal explotation of immigrant labor.
Americans WOULD do the work if the pay was reasonable.
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