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Americans don't want farm work
September 27, 2010
6:20 pm
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greeney2
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They don't or can't do the work the migrant farm workers do, and as I've written many times, do no congregate at the Home Depot to find day work. When you drive around town however, you will see Americans of corners with cardboard signs saying "veteran" or "Help me", right across the street will be a Mexican person selling flowers, or fruit, or something to earn a living.

Despite economy, Americans don't want farm work
Buzz up!54 votes ShareretweetEmailPrint AP – In this Sept. 24, 2010 photo, Benjamin Reynosa, 49, of Orange Cove, picks table grapes near Fowler, Calif. …
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By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer Garance Burke, Associated Press Writer – 16 mins ago
VISALIA, Calif. – As the economy tanked during the past two years, a debate has raged over whether immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want. Here, amid the sweltering vineyards of the largest farm state, the answer is no.

Most Americans simply don't apply for jobs harvesting fruits and vegetables in California, where one of every eight people is out of work, according to government data for a federal seasonal farmworker program analyzed by The Associated Press.

And the few unemployed Americans who apply through official channels usually don't stay on in the fields, a point comedian Stephen Colbert — dressed as a field hand — has alluded to in recent broadcasts on Comedy Central.

"It's just not something that most Americans are going to pack up their bags and move here to do," said farmer Steve Fortin, who pays $10.25 an hour to foreign workers to trim strawberry plants for six weeks each summer at his nursery near the Nevada border. He has spent $3,000 this year ensuring domestic workers have first dibs on his jobs in the sparsely populated stretch of the state, advertising in newspapers and on an electronic job registry.

But he hasn't had any takers, and only one farmer in the state hired anyone using a little-known, little-used program to hire foreign farmworkers the legal way — by applying for guest worker visas.

Since January, California farmers have posted ads for 1,160 farmworker positions open to U.S. citizens and legal residents seeking work.

Only 233 people applied after being linked with the jobs through unemployment offices in California, Texas, Nevada and Arizona. One grower brought on 36 U.S citizens or legal permanent residents. No one else hired any.

"It surprises me, too, but we do put the information out there for the public," said Lucy Ruelas, who manages the California Employment Development Department's agricultural services unit. "If an applicant sees the reality of the job, they might change their mind."

The California figures represent a small sample of efforts to recruit domestic workers under the H-2A Guest Worker Program, but they provide a snapshot of how hard it is to lure Americans to farm labor — and to get growers to use the program.

Fortin is one of just 23 of the estimated 40,900 full-time farmers and ranchers in California who petitioned this year to bring in foreign farmworkers through legal means, the government data showed. The Labor Department did not respond to a request for comment about the findings.

More than half of farmworkers in the United States are illegal immigrants, according to the Labor Department, and another fourth of them were born outside the country. Proponents of tougher immigration laws — as well as the United Farm Workers of America — say farmers are used to a cheap, largely undocumented work force, and say if growers raised wages and improved working conditions, the jobs would attract Americans.

So far, a tongue-in-cheek effort by Colbert and the UFW to get Americans to take farm jobs has been more effective in attracting applicants than the official channels.

The UFW in June launched the "Take Our Jobs Campaign," inviting people to go online and apply.

About 8,600 people filled out an application form, but only 7 have been placed in farm jobs, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said.

Colbert joked to a House Congressional committee Friday that spending a day picking beans in upstate New York for an episode was "really, really hard."

Colbert's comedic activism makes a point Fortin is familiar with. Some Americans referred for jobs at his nursery couldn't to do the grueling work.

"A few years ago when domestic workers were referred here, we saw absentee problems, and we had people asking for time off after they had just started," he said. "Some were actually planting the plants upside down."

Economists have long argued over whether local workers would take jobs in the field if wages rose. Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis, said because so few farmers participate in the H-2A program, the data's limitations make it hard to draw national conclusions. Under current conditions, the figures show the work force will remain almost entirely immigrant, he said.

"Recruitment of U.S. workers in this program doesn't work well primarily because employers have already identified who they want to bring in from abroad," Martin said. "I don't think a lot of U.S. workers are going out there looking for a seasonal job paying the minimum wage or a dollar more."

The Labor Department collects the same data about H-2A visa applications for all 50 states, but does not make it publicly available. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from AP, the agency said it would provide some records for nearly $11,000, but it was not clear whether the information would show how many Americans had applied for farm labor jobs nationwide.

Even California officials say the guest worker program needs fixing, despite a reform effort announced in February by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis meant to boost efforts to fill crop-picking jobs first with domestic workers.

Benjamin Reynosa, who was picking ruby-colored grapes in 90-degree heat near Fowler Friday morning, said he often is the only U.S. legal resident on seasonal crews. He said most people hear about the jobs through word of mouth or signs tacked outside rural stores, not the electronic registry.

"I've been working in agriculture for 22 years and I can tell you there are very few gringos out here," said Reynosa, 49, of Orange Cove, said. "If people know English, they go to work in packinghouses or sit in an office."

In Tulare County, where the unemployment rate is above 16 percent, job seekers on a recent morning crowded around computers at the job development agency. Staff appeared unaware the guest worker program required them to advertise the jobs.

"We just don't advertise those kinds of farmworker jobs," said Sandi Miller, program coordinator for the county's work force investment board.

Amid the U.S. Army flyers posted in the lobby, however, under the heading "HOT JOB LEADS" was an ad for a farmworker position, preferring someone with Spanish fluency and tractor maintenance skills.

Miller said later it was the first she had seen such a notice. She hadn't received any applications, she said.

September 27, 2010
6:37 pm
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BloodStone
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Well , at $10.50 an hour most Americans are forced to take unemployment which pays much better than $10.50 an hour in most cases.

That's the only reason they won't take it. If our Government stopped paying people , and extending unemployment for 2 years , they would have to take jobs they don't want. Same ole story.

If you give them free money they won't work.

BloodStone...

If it were raining hookers, I'd get hit by a fag.

September 28, 2010
7:22 am
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gudskepteacal
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I think working the fields as a farm hand would be easier than pouring concrete(including forming up and tying steel) and finishing it with hand tools or laboring for a rock mason who never has enough rocks to choose from. Having experienced a few months of both; imo, harvesting the fields doesn't seem like it could be much more labor intensive. Hopefully the wages will go up if I ever just have to do it someday.

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." - James Madison

September 28, 2010
7:27 am
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frrostedman
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Cost of labor is a key issue.

Is the U.S. willing to pay a much higher price for their produce? Because that would be the inevitable result of Americanizing all the farm labor jobs. The immigrants from Mexico are paid dirt cheap wages--which by the way I don't support at all--and the savings are passed on to the consumer. Americanizing the farm work would result in a doubling or more of the wages, then the farmworkers would form a union and get paid more and more. Produce would double or triple in price, probably.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

September 28, 2010
10:38 am
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The_Joker
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Simply put, we need to encourage people to get back to farming.

Globally there is a shortage of farmers growing crops for food as a result our food stocks are becoming low and the follow on from that is increased prices at the supermarkets for the food we already buy.

In Australia studies have shown that our food prices have nearly doubled in the last 5 years.

Governments should be doing more to get people back on the land, giving tax breaks for people wishing to do the work or to buy a farm has to be on the agenda or everyone will starve except the well paid or the elite.

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

September 28, 2010
12:18 pm
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Halfabo
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"BloodStone" wrote: Well , at $10.50 an hour most Americans are forced to take unemployment which pays much better than $10.50 an hour in most cases.

That's the only reason they won't take it. If our Government stopped paying people , and extending unemployment for 2 years , they would have to take jobs they don't want. Same ole story.

If you give them free money they won't work.

BloodStone...

Harvest work isn't paid by the hour. You are paid by how much you pick. The more you pick the more you get paid. That encourages the workers to actually do the work they are hired to do.

September 28, 2010
12:27 pm
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BloodStone
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Harvest work isn't paid by the hour. You are paid by how much you pick. The more you pick the more you get paid. That encourages the workers to actually do the work they are hired to do.

some do get paid hourly, others you are right they get paid by production, however it's still better pay , and less work to sit on you're ass and get a Government check, not many are willing to give that up.

BloodStone...

If it were raining hookers, I'd get hit by a fag.

September 28, 2010
3:28 pm
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Cole_Trickle
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"gudskepteacal" wrote: I think working the fields as a farm hand would be easier than pouring concrete(including forming up and tying steel) and finishing it with hand tools or laboring for a rock mason who never has enough rocks to choose from. Having experienced a few months of both; imo, harvesting the fields doesn't seem like it could be much more labor intensive. Hopefully the wages will go up if I ever just have to do it someday.

You would be correct. Concrete work is just another field destroyed by the Unions, one only a handful of people can actually do. Easily the hardest work anyone can do, especially if done right.

I've seen many go to lunch and not return. Usually their first attempt at a Masons wheelbarrow full of concrete separated the men form the boys straightaway! I've seen young men who couldn't lift em let alone use em. Laugh

Great for the forearms and the hands.

Bring Em All Home Cole

September 28, 2010
5:58 pm
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Aquatank
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First of all and the first problem, I hate saying it but many (not all) Americans entirely lack any work ethic, I've seen it far too often at places I've worked where workers shirk their duties and think the companies owe them far more than what they signed on for. Many people won't accept wages lower than their last job even if it means not having a job for years.

And that leaves us with the second problem. Agricultural labor has had a different minimum wage than normal based on bushels picked etc. whats unfair is that its based on a 13 weeks of labor rule which is devastating in the migratory business of agricultural labor. The farm gets harvested before then they have to move on to the next farm and the next without fair wages.

Combined that leaves us with an agricultutral labor force othat is half illegal alien immigrants.

But we are in deep do do in unemployment, so anyone who wants a job heres a contact to do agricultural labor.
http://takeourjobs.org/

September 29, 2010
6:14 am
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frrostedman
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"Aquatank" wrote: First of all and the first problem, I hate saying it but many (not all) Americans entirely lack any work ethic, I've seen it far too often at places I've worked where workers shirk their duties and think the companies owe them far more than what they signed on for.

Such a problem would plague the entire nation if your socialist eutopia agenda were forced upon us. This attitude of "where's my hand out" is part and parcel of liberal progressive socialism. If this country were running the way the founders intended, nobody--not a single worker--would expect anything more than what a fair wage for the work they performed.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

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