[Sayma-Discuss] GA to "ask" probationers to work on farms doing the jobs that undocumented workers are no longer doing

Free Polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Tue Jun 14 20:40:02 EDT 2011

Dear Friends,


Today, I heard on WABE radio in Atlanta (the NPR affiliate) the Georgia
commissioner of agriculture say that jobs that undocumented workers were
doing on GA farms were paying "up to $14.00 an hour" .  He is running a
pilot program that puts unemployed  probationers an  "opportunity to work".
The person interviewing the commissioner asked if the salary number seemed
high and the commissioner repeated that there was a "range".      No
follow-up about "average wage" or "median wage".   Bah!    


So, the anti undocumented worker bill in GA will also create a system of
slave labor where people on parole will be "asked" by the very State of GA
who allows them to remain "free" whether  they "want" to work in the fields.
The reporter did ask about how a job which is seasonal and which requires a
lot of mobility is going to help anyone to become useful workers in our
labor force.   The commissioner said that he had been asked to come up with
some alternative ways to solve the farm labor shortage that exists NOW and
that he is a "Problem Solver" and will "Always be a Problem Solver".     (He
did say that they could say no, but I wonder if that is going to happen.) 


Wow!    This is much worse than I had even imagined.     I'd like to ask the
question that was raised at YM:  "What do we do now?"







State looks into probationers to meet farm labor shortage 

Shomial Ahmad (June 14, 2011)




Today, the state released the results of an agriculture survey the Governor
commissioned after hearing of labor shortages. 

ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - Today, the state released the results of an agriculture
survey the Governor commissioned after hearing of labor shortages. The
Governor hopes to fill part of the shortage with unemployed probationers. 

The survey conducted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture states there
are about 11,000 job openings in the state's agriculture sector. The impact
of the state's controversial immigration bill on the job shortages is not
addressed in the 10-page report. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black
conducted the survey.

"Comparing what labor needs are right now and what people actually have
versus what they need and what they had last year, there was certainly some
unmet needs this year."

One of the state's solution for these unmet needs? Get some unemployed
probationers out on the fields in southwest Georgia. Charles Hall is with
the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. He's working with the
state on this solution.

"We probably will place probationers at maybe three farms. Again, this is a
trial program to try to figure out if this is an alternative or not."

One Georgia farmers is not sure if the idea will work. Jason Berry is a
manager at blueberry farm in southeastern Georgia. Several weeks ago, he
hired local unemployed workers to harvest. It didn't work. Berry's afraid
that those on probation won't measure up either.

"If you start hiring a bunch of people that can't keep pace, and you have a
lot of people with averages below enough where you have to start making up
minimum wage. Then your cost to harvest goes up exponentially."

Berry also says the job of a harvester is temporary and it involves moving
around. And according to the state agriculture survey, the majority of
respondents say the jobs are available for six months or less. Berry's not
sure if that's the kind of job those on probation are looking for. 

"Most people who live here or are state probationers, don't want to come to
work in 100-degree heat for six weeks and then you don't have any use for
them anymore."

In any event, the state's harvest season is winding down. One industry
expert says any attempt to fill labor shortages now won't be an immediate




June 9, 2011:  WABE Radio (Atlanta's NPR Affiliate)


Shomial Ahmad


ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - More than half of the states in the nation enacted
immigration measures this year. The National Conference of State
Legislatures says the top areas of interest were employment and law

More than 1,500 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees
were considered by state legislatures since the beginning of this year.
That's according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ann Morse
with the group says this was a record year.

"We've been tracking this fairly heavily since 2005, and every year the
numbers go up. It's an area that state governments feel like the federal
government isn't acting, and they're stepping into the breach."

Bills that passed range from Maryland allowing qualifed undocumented
students to pay in-state tuition rates to Alabama requiring parents of
foreign-born students to report the immigration status of their children.
The National Immigration Forum tracks Arizona-type bills. Three State
legislatures--Utah, Georgia and Alabama-- passed such bills. Martine Apodaca
with the forum says many similar measures in other states failed.

"In Florida, the business community, the tourism industry, the agriculture
industry lobbied the state legislature heavily to prevent this from
happening. Because they couldn't meet the labor needs that the citrus and
the agriculture industry needed."

South Carolina and Texas are still considering bills on tighter enforcement
towards the undocumented.

C Copyright 2011, WABE <http://www.wabe.org> 



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