Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama’s tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn’t worked out: Most show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon. Some quit after a single day...More at the link.
Politicians who support the law say over time more unemployed Americans will fill these jobs. They insist it’s too early to consider the law a failure, yet numbers from the governor’s office show only nominal interest...
Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican who signed the law, started a program last week to help businesses, particularly farmers, make up for the lost labor. So far, about 260 people interested in temporary agricultural jobs have signed up. About three dozen job openings have been posted... the department doesn’t know of anyone who has been hired...
At his farm, field workers get $2 for every 25-pound box of tomatoes they fill. Skilled pickers can make anywhere from $200 to $300 a day, he said. Unskilled workers make much less.
A crew of four Hispanics can earn about $150 each by picking 250-300 boxes of tomatoes in a day... A crew of 25 Americans recently picked 200 boxes — giving them each $24 for the day.
It may make sense for some to sit on the couch. Unemployment benefits provide up to $265 a week while a minimum wage job, at $7.25 an hour for 40 hours, brings in $290.
Spencer said the Americans he has linked up with farmers are not physically fit and do not work fast enough.
22 October 2011
Before you exclude illegal immigrants...
Excerpts from an Associated Press story in the Cullman Times: