Take Our Jobs!

July 8, 2010

For all of the hate radio yappers and right-wing pundits who complain that undocumented immigrants are taking American jobs, finally there is an answer for you.  The United Farm Workers union has launched a campaign to get unemployed American citizens and legal residents to Take Our Jobs!

U.S. agriculture is dependent on an immigrant workforce. Three-quarters of all U.S. crop workers  were born outside the United States. The UFW states that according to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.

On the UFW Take Our Jobs! website applicants can sign up with their name, email and zip code.  Here's the job decription:
Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting and packing of harvested produce. May set up and operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) and is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift and carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis.
There's more to the job description than that though.  Here are some facts about pay: Florida tomato pickers earn an average of 45 cents per 32-lb. bucket of tomatoes, a rate that has not risen significantly since 1978. As a result, workers today have to pick over twice the number of buckets per hour to earn minimum wage as they did in 1980. At today’s piece rate, workers have to pick over 2 ½ tons of tomatoes just to earn the equivalent of Florida minimum wage for a 10-hour workday.   What a challenge! You too can earn these wages by signing up at Take Our Jobs!

If you are wondering about the benefits consider that as a result of intentional exclusion from key New Deal labor reform measures, farm workers do not have the right to overtime pay, nor the right to organize and collectively bargain with their employers. Housing is substandard and there is generally no health insurance.  You too can have benefits like these by applying to be a farm worker at Take Our Jobs!

The environment is an important element when considering a job. Farm workers are exposed to extreme heat. In fact, the ACLU sued the State of California and OSHA for not enforcing laws to protect the workers. Stifling heat has resulted in illness and even the death of farm workers. But if you like it hot, apply to be a farm worker at Take Our Jobs!

Exposure to pesticides can be a deterrent to some. Here are some facts about agricultural pesticide use in Florida:
  • Every year, one billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops in the United States.
  • Florida growers use more pesticides per acre than growers anywhere else in America
  • Some of the pesticides are harmless. Others are known to cause cancer, spontaneous abortions and serious neurological disorders.
  • Of 4,609 pesticide violations found by inspectors at the Florida Department of Agriculture in the last 10 years, only 7.6 percent resulted in fines.
If being sprayed by a crop duster appeals to you, sign up now at Take Our Jobs!

Most American know little about the origins of the food that we purchase. Most Americans don't know that most farm workers don't have enough to eat, but they slave in the fields to put food on our tables.  Most Americans don't know that if the farm workers were paid fair wages, many of us probably could not afford to buy much food.

Richard Delgado, a professor at Seattle University, wrote an editorial in The Seattle Times about the rising cost of food. He remarked:
Immigration controls that inhibit the free movement of workers to jobs that need them operate as a drag on the free market, increasing costs all along the line. A nation that closes its borders to essential labor will eventually pay the price.

Studies of immigrants, especially those from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, confirm that they are hardworking and even less likely to break the law or throw themselves on the mercy of welfare authorities than citizens whose ancestors settled the original colonies. They help us enjoy relatively affordable food because they are willing to work long hours under the hot sun, making sure that the nation's food reaches your market. Throughout its history, immigrants have built America, fueling its economy and adding richness to its culture.

When we hear voices railing at immigration and immigrants, it is helpful to keep these facts — and our pocketbooks — in mind.
From the Take Our Jobs! website:
Take Our Jobs is a national campaign led by United Farm Workers aimed at hiring U.S. citizens and legal residents to fill jobs that often go to undocumented farm workers. The effort spotlights the immigrant labor issue and underscores the need for reforms without which the domestic agricultural industry could be crippled, leading to more jobs moving off shore.

As part of the movement, the campaign is sending a letter to U.S. lawmakers, offering up farm workers who are “ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace immigrants in the fields.” The campaign is encouraging Members of Congress to refer their constituents to vacant farm worker positions in locations across the country. All who are interested or unemployed and are legal residents or U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply.
If you still are not convinced that being a farm worker is the job for you, please tune into Steve Colbert tonight at 11:30 EST as he is joined by his guest United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez who appeals to Americans to Take Our Jobs! Watch here.


The Saipan Blogger said...

Like John McCain said during the campaign, "Who here would be willing to pick cabbage for $50/hr?"

No wonder he lost.

Anonymous said...

Can we do this in the CNMI also? TAKE MY JOBS! I work in a technical field. Mostly computer repairs and maintenance. And on top of that, I develop webpages, Setup and maintain Servers and its configuration. I do computer networking and computer programming. And I am paid slightly above CNMI minimum wage.


Anonymous said...

I love this campaign. What a great way to educate the American people about farm workers' extremely difficult and backbreaking jobs. When it comes down to people having to grow their own food if they are able to afford it, then they may welcome their brown brothers and sisters and actually appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was applicable in the US, because there are more workers educated and skilled that can do the work they want and qualified for; the CNMI is different, where they want to be manager and let the foreign workers (who are more educated and skilled) to be their subordinate. crazy neh!

Anonymous said...

There are so many locals that we knew are prof such as engineers/doctors/accountants and accepted that they will be the boss (if they are really) but lots are pretending here to be educated/prof. In just days you will be proven to be pretending, so don't act like a boss if you aren't be.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Thanks for pointing this out, Wendy.

Anonymous said...

OK DOL, now is the time for you guys to "put up or shut up".
Granted there are people out there to be able to take many of the CW jobs.
So lets do this the same way. Any "qualified" person that can take the job of any CW, make the employer to hire them on a 90 day "probationary basis" and if they are still there and have showed up for work daily, (on time) then terminate the CW.
The CW can look for another job as they are protected and can stay until 2011.
Have all the US workers be under the same original "contract" such as.
Three times late,(without a call in) "dismissal"
Three times no show "dismissal".
I do not think this is a problem for anybody.
I do support the CW, but I also would like to see the NMI law to allow any "qualified" US worker to be able to take over a CW job.(as under the original laws) Under the same pay and additional payment to cover the benefits that are received by the CW.
But stating this, I would also want to give the EMPLOYERS a 90 day "probationary" period.
As in the past, 99% I have not had any "US" coming to work on time or under my CW contract.
I have had only two "US" people out of uncountable others that have survived many years and are my best and THE "main guys".(locals)
I am bringing them to Guam (along with many of my CW's under the "H" visa, an "J" for the families") as we are/have been leaving our place of business in "mothballs" and await the outcome of the Carolinian "Mafia".(4 more years??)

Now Fitial, now you have lost collection on an average of 500+ mil in our PAST last years project's prior to your entry as the "exalted leader"
Now you have no "collection" and many "locals" (and family)leaving island, also many of your "status Quo" CW leaving the island (with family)with our projects in Guam.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Mam Wendy and may you live long!

Anonymous said...

Take My Jobs is a BRILLIANT campaign. Come on all you anti-immigrant haters. TAKE THEIR JOB! You wouldn't last one hour. THANK YOU TO EVERY FARM WORKER FOR ALLM THAT YOU DO!!!

Anonymous said...

I actually worked during the summer picking peaches and tomatoes when I was 15 and was paid by the bushel. I still remember the heat, and the itching on my neck from the peach fuzz/sweat mix. That is where I developed a work ethic and made me the person I am today. The unemployment rate among youth today is horrible and is due in direct relation to the increase in foreign workers. Foreign workers are older and often have a higher work ethic than young people starting jobs. The CNMI needs to have young people actually working in the private sector, not in government offices on WIA funded contracts.

As for the computer repair comment, he is correct, there are no workers with prospects of employment in the mainland with all those skills that would work for $4.55/hr. If he is given status, he will be the first to leave the CNMI and his $4.55/hr. job. There may be u.s. workers available for $8-$9/hr. Wage bands are the only thing that will protect u.s. workers jobs. Does anyone find it troubling that houseworkers without a high school degree are paid the same as some accountants with a 4 year college degree?

I would like to see a "take your job" in the CNMI with Guam prevailing wages, and I would bet that a high percentage of cw's would be replaced. Business interests oppose that idea, and join in the support for cnmi-only status so they can keep the broken two tiered system of labor.

Anonymous said...

I think every person in the US should spend a day in the fields and THEN decide whether or not they need the alien workers. Attitudes might change, at least for the people who have hearts.

Anonymous said...

its ok,i can be a farmer forever!it depends on the person who really love's this job and for the person who really knows the job!working under the sun is a really tough job but its fun!can these folks in cnmi mentain teir regular supply of produce by their own 100%local farmers!!??NO!!pilipino and chinese are their farmers!!without these contract farmers..no more petchay or kukumberr in the island!!

Anonymous said...

At least 25% to 50% of CNMI "contract workers" are unemployed, under-employed, falsely employed in sham sponsorships, overstaying tourists, overstaying students, former business operators or entrepreneurs pretending to be workers, or adult childen of contract workers who have "aged out" of dependent status and can't find jobs.

The best and brightest of them have been looking for jobs abroad. Those lacking initiative, having given up, or with very limited skills are just hanging on hoping for a favorable status change, while enjoying the pleasant CNMI lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Mam Wendy!

Good Health and Peace of Mind to you and to your Family. We love you!

Wendy said...

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!

Love from me to you all too!

Anonymous said...

On a side note concerning the wages in the NMI.
When the Feds require the "H" visa for workers,under the many requirements, like proving that a US worker is not available, doesn't the employer have to pay the same wage as the US mainland counter part for the same job? (Such as in Guam)
If this is the case, then in 2011 the "two tiered system" will automatically be broken.This will benefit the local worker as well as the CW.
It will also restrict the CW to a certain number of years on contract renewal and mandate that the worker return to his/her own country for so many months before reapplying for the visa.
As in the US, farm and Maritime wages are not regulated by minimum wage laws.
can someone knowledgeable pls weigh in on this question.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great idea to give the jobs to the locals. The money would stay here on the islands, with more money being spent, the earnings would go up. Employers could afford to pay more, employees would make more and the CNMI would prosper. Sure there are some menial jobs that would have to be still done, but that is better than standing in the food line every month. It is said so much that the economy would crash if the contract workers left, I beg to differ. Unemployment is at its all time high with the bulk being contract workers and leeching off others. Many taking laborious jobs at $3.00 to get by. That undermines the entire economical structure. If you want citizenship or improved status, apply for it like all have for decades. We will do just fine without contract workers, legal and illegal.

Anonymous said...

I for one find this campaign insulting and condescending, even though I support improved status for alien workers. Anyone who thinks non aliens haven't worked in menial jobs is out of touch with reality. I have worked on dairy farms, dug ditches, worked construction, done tower work, washed dishes and sold burgers. There weren't any aliens working with me on any of those jobs.

I think you'd make a better case by arguing that these are mainly entry level jobs for citizens, and if they make a career out of then, they are well compensated, unlike alien workers who make minimum wage (if they're lucky). It doesn't advance your cause with the blue collar workers, farmers, and other semiskilled citizens to imply that we, as citizens, are too soft or lazy to do the gardening.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 3:41 Insulting and condescending? No, you miss the point. First, it is the undocumented immigrants and farm workers who support and initiated this campaign. They realize that Americans will not take their jobs. They understand that while some outspoken anti-immigrant Americans say that they are taking their jobs, the 1.5 million farm workers in American work in jobs that Americans refuse to do! The point is that if the foreign workers do not labor in the fields, then the U.S agriculture will collapse. Do you see millions of Americans asking for these jobs?

Anonymous 10:30 You mistaken when you say, "We will do fine without the contract workers." First off the CNMI does not even have the sheer number of workers needed to fill all the positions! Good luck with that!

Anonymous said...

Wendy (8:24) Neither does Guam have enough (local)workers,and they on the whole have "work ethics" and actually show up for work daily and actually work. (the majority for the most part)
There is many "H" workers brought (annually) as you and many are aware of.

Anonymous said...

Agriculture will not collapse without aliens. As has been well documented in the past, the availability of cheap migrant labor actually delayed technology like the combine, cotton gin, and other improvements. If the aliens go away, industry will adapt.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 8:47

Guam has many more residents in the private sector than CNMI, and in the CNMI there are many categories of foreign workers that will not qualify for the H visas, which is why there is a CNMI-only guest workers rule coming out in September. Isn't Guam's minimum wage higher than the CNMI's also?

Anonymous 8:52
You are wrong, wrong, wrong. Please educate yourself on this issue. The American people could fill these jobs -millions are out of work. They will not work in the fields! The Department of Agriculture counts nearly one million farm workers in the United States with 85% of farm workers being immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Yes, minimum wage in Guam is much higher, but most jobs are paying more than minimum wages, especially in the construction trades, also the cost of goods are lower in Guam than the NMI. Point being is that Guam needs to import workers in spite of their larger population.
And you are correct that many will not qualify for "H" visa's in the NMI.
I also read that last week around July 4th there where just under 50 new US Citizens sworn in in Guam.

Anonymous said...

Numero Uno: Those who say they love to farm, do not have a clue. This isn't tending to your half-acre taro patch. This is fast-paced picking with quotas to meet, in the heat of the day.

Numero Dos: The opinion that a non-resident worker shouldn't be granted improved status because they will move to greener pastures, is repulsive. Who raised you, a farm animal? You believe they should have to work for you for nothing their whole life huh?

Anonymous said...

If you are such a hard and dedicated worker that wants to be more than just a contract worker, where is your application for a green card that should have been submitted years ago. It seems to me that most contract workers were satisfied with being contract workers and not working at all towards improved status. U.S. Immigration comes in and starts to implement Federal law and then and only then did the masses of contract workers demand for improved status or citizenship (for free please). The contract workers have kept us in the dark ages to benefit a few corrupt politicians and businessmen, Uncle Ben, Willie, Casino Jack, Tenorio, etc. With suppressing the minimum wage, many many locals (Real U.S. Citizens) were unwilling to subject themselves and their families to poverty level wages and they moved on to either the states or Guam for better work conditions and wages. This is one of the main reasons that the local population has decreased so much over the last decade. Farmers complaining about how much acreage they have to tend? With Contract workers making up around 1/2 the population here, at least have the acreage would not need to be, nor would be tended as there would be a surplus of goods. As long as the local government and Federal government allow contract workers to remain in the CNMI, it will not nor can not change for the better. Simply said, You have to leave, you don't have to go home, you just cant stay here.

the teacher said...

The take this job approach works when employees are in demand and the crops are in the field, but is doesn't. and wouldn't work in the NMI based on supply and demand. Whoever said this below has their hand on the pulse of Saipan.

"At least 25% to 50% of CNMI "contract workers" are unemployed, under-employed, falsely employed in sham sponsorships, overstaying tourists, overstaying students, former business operators or entrepreneurs pretending to be workers, or adult childen of contract workers who have "aged out" of dependent status and can't find jobs.

The best and brightest of them have been looking for jobs abroad. Those lacking initiative, having given up, or with very limited skills are just hanging on hoping for a favorable status change, while enjoying the pleasant CNMI lifestyle."

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ron. We certainly don't always agree.

I would have signed my name, but I am one of those whom many blog and MVariety commenters love to pillory or give "thumbs down" based on identity alone, and whose signature would have distracted from any merit to my comment.

Belated Happy Birthday, Wendy!

Captain said...

Noni 7:21 On Green cards. one of the major problems in the past (and probably now) is with the wages in the NMI all cannot qualify to be able to get a "Greene Card"

This goes also for the "Locals" who are married to a former CW.and are trying to get a "card" for their spouse.
Even the ones working for the NMI Govt. (unless they are a higher echelon employee)
Years ago my friend from Guam, who was on SS retirement, and had previously worked in the NMI for many years, married his girl friend of 25 years and tried to get her a "green card" to be able to join him in Guam.
his SS checks did not qualify him,(even with his wife's income)
A mutual "local" friend put up some of his property as a "bond" so he could qualify for the Green card.
I do not know how this was done,It was not done over night, it took months, but for the "locals" out there that needs to get a "Card" for their spouse that may be a way if your income is not sufficient.

Anonymous said...

This does not seem to be a serious effort to get legal Americans employed as farmworkers. They direct you to jobs central where there are job listings. There are no listings for most states. less then 40 jobs have been listed for the last 14 days. Many require experience or they hire locally. Some jobs are not for crop pickers. they are for other things such as ranch hands,mechanics ,maintenance people or truck drivers. Unless farmers make a commitment to make an honest attempt to hire legals there is no point of all this . The farmworkers union has an agenda and anyone that uses this to make the point legal Americans won't do these jobs is a fool in my opinion.

michele said...

Above anon is right. I gave my info to the website. It took five days for a robo response to redirect me to jobcentral.com with the instruction to type "farmworker" in the keyword box. There were two farms for the entire state of TX, the closest of which (two hours away) had no jobs available. This despite the fact that CNN states 500,000 applicants are needed to replace the immigrant workforce.

It's merely a propaganda tool for those who can't think for themselves.