Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The myth of jobs Americans won't take

Have you read any of those news stories about how companies have jobs but American workers won't take them?

You probably thought there was something fishy about them. You were right.

Dan Rather, writing for The Huffington Post, went to Georgia to see if American workers were refusing to work in the fields.

Here's what he found:

...we found plenty of out-of-work Americans -- literally hundreds -- vying for jobs in the fields. The problem, these folks told us, is that the farmers in the area would rather import foreign guest workers to pick their vegetables than hire Americans.

Labor advocates say that farmers may like their labor cheap, fast and disposable, but it's illegal discrimination.

Rather went to J&R Baker Farms in Colquitt County. Six days before he got there, 136 Americans got jobs with the farm.

Many of the new hires said day after day, they'd been reporting for duty before daybreak, only to stand around for hours waiting for impossible assignments (like picking vegetables from a field that had already been harvested) and declared unqualified. They told us that the farm sent them home after an hour or two of work and their first week's paychecks amounted to less than $50. By week two, nearly all of the American workers had either quit or been fired. Meanwhile, foreign guest workers -- who were imported by the farm using a federal visa program known as the H-2A program -- were out in the in fields picking away.

The Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are investigating, Rather says.