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Why Americans Won't Do Dirty Jobs
MSNBC ^ | November 09, 2011 | Elizabeth Dwoskin

Posted on 11/15/2011 10:19:20 AM PST by JerseyanExile

Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. No one knows this better than Randy Rhodes, president of Harvest Select, which has a processing plant in impoverished Uniontown, Ala. For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Most of his employees are Guatemalan. Or they were, until Alabama enacted an immigration law in September that requires police to question people they suspect might be in the U.S. illegally and punish businesses -

(Excerpt) Read more at today.msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: agriculture; illegalimmigration; labor; minimumwage
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The article summed up - despite a close to 20% unemployment rate in Alabama, few Americans are willing to take these sorts of jobs at these wage levels. So, are continued unemployment benefits distorting the market? Is it due to shifts in how popular culture views manual labor? An industry where illegal labor artificially lowered the going value of labor? A combination of these factors? Or something else entirely?
1 posted on 11/15/2011 10:19:24 AM PST by JerseyanExile
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To: JerseyanExile

On the other hand, maybe working (physical labor) in a cold, wet environment for 10 hours a day is worth more pay than minimum wage!


2 posted on 11/15/2011 10:22:10 AM PST by Obadiah (If Reagan were alive today he'd be spinning in his grave.)
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To: Obadiah

Not to mention if there wasn’t cheap illegal labor, someone might have come up with an automated solution to replace the workers with.


3 posted on 11/15/2011 10:23:03 AM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: JerseyanExile

Unemployment benefits and other handouts. If you don’t HAVE to work (because big daddy government will take care of you) WHY would you work doing this job?


4 posted on 11/15/2011 10:23:04 AM PST by bolobaby
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To: Obadiah

Point.


5 posted on 11/15/2011 10:24:24 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: JerseyanExile

For a couple generations we have trained our youth that these jobs are beneath them.

High schoolers and college students who used to do these jobs need to pick up the pace and get back to it.


6 posted on 11/15/2011 10:24:29 AM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Public employee unions are the barbarian hordes of our time.)
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To: JerseyanExile

It’s that illegal labor artificially lowered the going value of labor.

If it weren’t for the illegals, he’s be raising his rate until an American would take the job.


7 posted on 11/15/2011 10:25:05 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: JerseyanExile

The company I worked for used to have a manufacturing plant in Uniontown, PA. It, along with a bunch of other manufacturing plants, closed down.

I wonder if it could have anything to do with the name “Uniontown”.


8 posted on 11/15/2011 10:25:34 AM PST by jim_trent
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To: JerseyanExile

If your business model includes using illegal labor, then you are not running a business. You are running a criminal operation and should go out of business. Then the legal fish packers could make money.


9 posted on 11/15/2011 10:26:36 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Obadiah

It’s worth what the employer has to pay to get someone to do it and not a penny more.


10 posted on 11/15/2011 10:26:39 AM PST by ontap
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To: JerseyanExile
Maybe people who hire illegals need to be in jail like embezzlers, burglars, drug dealers, and other criminals.

Your excuse that they don't want to pay a wage that people here legally would work for is crap, just as defending burglary because other people have lots of stuff is crap.

11 posted on 11/15/2011 10:28:20 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: Obadiah
On the other hand, maybe working (physical labor) in a cold, wet environment for 10 hours a day is worth more pay than minimum wage!

My thoughts exactly! Garbage men don't make minimum wage hauling refuse away, the jobs are unpleasant, and generally you pay people to work more at unpleasant jobs.

Generally speaking, people working in the Meat Packing industries make considerabley MORE than minimum wage.

12 posted on 11/15/2011 10:28:35 AM PST by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: jim_trent
"The Town of Union", now known as Uniontown was founded in 1776.

FWIW.

13 posted on 11/15/2011 10:29:04 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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We've Watched The Spinning Act In The Press And DC Long Enough


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Join Other Conservative Voices And Support FR

14 posted on 11/15/2011 10:29:54 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: DannyTN
"If it weren’t for the illegals, he’s be raising his rate until an American would take the job."

You can pay well above minimum wage and still not get an american to take the job. Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish???

Guess this guy should simply go out of business and join the doles. That'll show us. That, or we can end the 2+ years of unemployment pay and seemingly endless government handouts, which will encourage the lazy to get a job, even if it is a dirty job.

15 posted on 11/15/2011 10:34:10 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies. Plan it.)
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To: ontap

Why the heck would anyone do this job for minimum wage? They can get an easy retail job for more than that. Years
ago before all meat processing plants fired all their skilled labor making a decent wage to hire illegals
people waited in line for these jobs.


16 posted on 11/15/2011 10:34:22 AM PST by Dem Guard (Obama's 57 States = The Organization of The Islamic Conference (OIC).)
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To: JerseyanExile

Too many of the arguments I hear in support of unlimited immigration (or excusing use of illegal immigrant labor) sound exactly like the arguments used to justify slavery before the Civil War. If fact, they are being repeated almost verbatim.

Bottom line is that the continued availability and use of impoverished illegal immigrants flooding into the workplace discourages mechanization and process improvements and depresses wages and working conditions.

Cotton farming in the south just couldn’t continue without slaves - no American wants to do that work. Eventually though, along comes International Harvester and John Deere.

If your business model can’t survive unless people are willing to stand for 10 hours a day gutting fish for three bucks an hour, then maybe your business model isn’t working.

That having been said, yes, the endless extensions and expansions of the welfare state discourages people from taking honest jobs that require one to work and maybe get dirty.


17 posted on 11/15/2011 10:35:07 AM PST by SargeK
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To: JerseyanExile

One can find work if they want to. It may not be what they want or pay what they are accustomed to. A lifestyle adjusted would be needed but there is work to be had.

To choose not to work is the fault of the individual. This is how I read Mr. Cain’s remarks, “If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself”

I agree with Herman !


18 posted on 11/15/2011 10:36:02 AM PST by Java4Jay (The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.)
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To: DannyTN

If it weren’t for the illegals, he’s be raising his rate until an American would take the job.

I tend to agree. Every day there are people standing out to be picked up by various people for 10 dollars an hour. Not ONE American is ever there. Don’t worry the illegals are very safe from arrest as this is Annapolis, MD.....no way do they have a single worry. The point is that not ONE American is waiting to take a job. Although people who pick up these folks to do their lawn mowing, weed picking and other tasks around the house need to be realistic as Annapolis, MD has an average wage of 75,000 dollars a year. If they want to hire Americans for this type of labor then I think if they raised it to 30 dollars an hour, they might have some Americans willing to take these jobs. The other problem is normally the jobs are a day or two and then they go back to standing at the side of the road. It is really a sight to see as you drive to work. They are standing out there at 6 in the morning. Apparently they are all picked up by 8 o’clock in the morning. They don’t even try to hide this. The paper has done numerous stories on it so if Americans wanted to stand out there, it is common knowledge that they would have the opportunity to do so.


19 posted on 11/15/2011 10:36:57 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: JerseyanExile
...are continued unemployment benefits distorting the market...

Ya think? CNBC had a bank exec on about a month ago saying that they were interviewing and people, upon being offered a job, asked if they could be called back in X months after their unemployment comp runs out. How 'bout trying this: Cut unemployment comp to 12 weeks and all get rid of all the other disincentives to work the gov't has put into place and see what happens to these "undesirable" jobs.

20 posted on 11/15/2011 10:37:23 AM PST by econjack
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To: Psycho_Bunny
High schoolers and college students who used to do these jobs need to pick up the pace and get back to it.

ABSOLUTELY! In high school and college, way back in the late 70's and early 80's I had some of the most menial jobs you could ever want to imagine. I did janitorial work, loaded trucks, construction work of the hardest type, and many other minimum wage jobs. I paid nearly 50% of my college tuition with this type of work. As a result of this I graduated with no debt. Today this is practically impossible as all these jobs are typically taken by immigrants, both legal and illegal. It use to be that when you went into a fast food place, it was staffed mostly by young kids. Today when you go into these places, there are middle age immigrants behind the counter. So there is tremendous youth unemployment due the influx of these immigrants.
21 posted on 11/15/2011 10:37:43 AM PST by truthguy (Good intentions are not enough.)
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To: JerseyanExile
"Tom Surtees is tired of hearing employers grouse about their lazy countrymen. “Don’t tell me an Alabamian can’t work out in the field picking produce because it’s hot and labor intensive,” he says. “Go into a steel mill. Go into a foundry. Go into numerous other occupations and tell them Alabamians don’t like this work because it’s hot and it requires manual labor.” The difference being, jobs in Alabama’s foundries and steel mills pay better wages—with benefits. “If you’re trying to justify paying someone below whatever an appropriate wage level is so you can bring your product, I don’t think that’s a valid argument,” Surtees says."

22 posted on 11/15/2011 10:40:35 AM PST by StAnDeliver (/)
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To: JerseyanExile

Americans don’t do the dirty jobs because the media has brainwashed a generation into thinking those jobs are unwanted, suited only for illegal immigrants.


23 posted on 11/15/2011 10:40:53 AM PST by stars & stripes forever ( Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.)
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To: Dem Guard

Not all people are mentally or cosmetically capable of getting into retail. The people who use to do these jobs are on welfare,selling dope, begging at street corners or mooching off someone. They never have been the sharpest knives in the drawer but they use to not have a choice.


24 posted on 11/15/2011 10:41:57 AM PST by ontap
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To: Spktyr

There are automated machines that will do this type of work. They are expensive!


25 posted on 11/15/2011 10:44:05 AM PST by BigpapaBo (If it don't kill you it'll make you _________!)
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To: napscoordinator
"...so if Americans wanted to stand out there, it is common knowledge that they would have the opportunity to do so."

Americans would probably be arrested for loitering. Wouldn't want to adversely impact one of the Democrat's favored voting blocks (illegals).

26 posted on 11/15/2011 10:44:54 AM PST by Truth29
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
You can pay well above minimum wage and still not get an american to take the job. Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish???

I wonder if this mindset is part of the reason we are in the situation we face in our economy? There are more than a few companies that have discovered that there is more to "compensation" than money and insurance: employees with skin in the game in general work harder. This goes under the guise of "profit sharing", "employee ownership", "product/process/cost improvement bonus", and similar methods to reward hard work, particular if that hard work brings in more.

Who knows, that catfish gutter may come up with an idea to increase productivity, product quality, and profitability. Encourage him to speak up, and reward him appropriately.

27 posted on 11/15/2011 10:44:57 AM PST by asinclair (Talk is cheap, actions are priceless)
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To: Obadiah

“On the other hand, maybe working (physical labor) in a cold, wet environment for 10 hours a day is worth more pay than minimum wage!”

Exactly. Raise the pay. The workers will come.


28 posted on 11/15/2011 10:47:03 AM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: DannyTN

Post #7 nailed it!

“It’s that illegal labor artificially lowered the going value of labor.

If it weren’t for the illegals, he’s be raising his rate until an American would take the job.”

Accurate and succinct.


29 posted on 11/15/2011 10:47:14 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

“Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish???”

Let the market decide.


30 posted on 11/15/2011 10:48:16 AM PST by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: JerseyanExile
For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Well there's his problem: he doesn't believe in market economics when it's not working in his favor!

31 posted on 11/15/2011 10:48:49 AM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
" Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish"

Have you ever handled a Catfish? They are not the easiest fish to handle. These workers are basically butchers. They deserve more than minimum wage.

32 posted on 11/15/2011 10:48:53 AM PST by moehoward
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To: truthguy
ABSOLUTELY! In high school and college, way back in the late 70's and early 80's I had some of the most menial jobs you could ever want to imagine. I did janitorial work, loaded trucks, construction work of the hardest type, and many other minimum wage jobs. I paid nearly 50% of my college tuition with this type of work. As a result of this I graduated with no debt.

I did the same. I never looked at any work as beneath me. If somebody wanted to pay me and I accepted then it was a done deal. They don't call it "wages" for nothing.

33 posted on 11/15/2011 10:49:57 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Truth29

lol. That is true. Gosh when you think about it, that definitely could happen. WIth how people coddle the aliens now a day, it would happen that Americans would be arrested for standing there. In Texas that does happen, Perry sends out the Cops to arrest Americans if they complain about illegal aliens. Calls them heartless and puts them in jail for life.....eventually he calls for their execution. /sarc.


34 posted on 11/15/2011 10:50:12 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Psycho_Bunny
High schoolers and college students who used to do these jobs need to pick up the pace and get back to it.

No, jackasses like this guy have to stop trying to cheat the market with illegal labor and submarket wages.

35 posted on 11/15/2011 10:52:18 AM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: JerseyanExile

American’s are not taught nor do they understand the salary maximum:

You will never be paid more than it costs to replace you and you will never be paid less than what you will accept.

Hiring illegals lowers the amount of acceptance. Absent the labor force, the owner will need to increase compensation to attract workers.


36 posted on 11/15/2011 10:53:49 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: central_va

I did the same. I never looked at any work as beneath me.

Me either. I have a Master’s Degree and back in the late 90’s, I got a part time job at Subway for some extra money and I NEVER considered it beneath me. In fact, it was a fun job. I enjoyed myself very much. I worked 8 hours at my full time job with so much stress and then I would go and work 4 hours at Subway where it was enjoyable and stress free. I don’t understand this thing called “a job beneath me”. I have a friend who has a Bachelor’s Degree from American University and he won’t even mow his own lawn. Laziest guy I ever met in my life!!!!!


37 posted on 11/15/2011 10:54:09 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: JerseyanExile

Look at the source of this, MSNBC. *spit*

Americans do dirty jobs. Hellsbells, there’s a show about it. But as long as we let in people who, sitting on the gov’t dole for education, healthcare and food, are willing to take five bucks an hour under the table, why would ANY employer offer more money?

Close the border, enforce the laws, cut off the freebees and those jobs would be filled in a heartbeat.


38 posted on 11/15/2011 10:55:40 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: napscoordinator

Get rid of welfare and Americans will do these jobs..


39 posted on 11/15/2011 10:56:00 AM PST by Hojczyk
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To: JerseyanExile

I believe once the illegals started flowing in the wages started dropping for these jobs. When I was a kid we picked and chopped coton. I know of families who moved to California to pick tomatoes. But when the pay decreases because of illegal workers, you go find something better.

I saw the tomato farmer from Alabama on TV last night saying she couldn’t find workers will to work for 14 hours a day. The reporter never asked how much she paid them.

With that said, I also know of a new generation who will simply not do manual labor. That’s why I admire the hell out of any guy who will work his ass off on a garbage truck.


40 posted on 11/15/2011 10:56:43 AM PST by Terry Mross (I'll only vote for a second party)
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To: Psycho_Bunny

Not that this job compares at all to what is described, but I delivered newspapers when I was 12. I had over 100 houses and i had to go out rain or shine, snow or no snow. It was miserable at times but I did it to earn a little money. These kids need a kick in the pants. They don’t even know what work is.


41 posted on 11/15/2011 10:58:18 AM PST by GunPkrBkr (I'd rather be judged by twelve, than carried by six.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish???

As much as it takes to solve his staffing problems with legal workers.

Guess this guy should simply go out of business and join the doles. That'll show us.

That's a hell of a lot better than the bastard artificially depressing the labor market with illegals, and providing camouflage for business-killing regulatory excesses by the powers that be.

You don't want to pay market rate for catfish? Don't buy it.

42 posted on 11/15/2011 10:59:17 AM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: Obadiah

What an employer is willing to pay and an employee is willing to accept defines what a job is worth. If illegals are sent home and the government stopped supporting unemployment, then employers and workers would come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Or, if employers could not find workers willing to work for what they offer, then they could look into alternatives, such as automation.

The free market works when it is allowed to operate. :-)


43 posted on 11/15/2011 10:59:59 AM PST by Pining_4_TX ( The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. ~)
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To: JerseyanExile

“It’s also driven away legal immigrants who feared being harassed.”
BS!

“For decades many of Alabama’s industries have benefited from a compliant foreign workforce....”
COMPLIANT!?!? In what way? Certainly not in a legal sense.

These business owners deserve ZERO pity. They are complicit. They could get away with paying slave wages because of an unending supply of fresh bodies. Sounds like that party is over. Good.

BTW it’s working in AZ too.


44 posted on 11/15/2011 11:00:00 AM PST by moehoward
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To: SargeK

Me and my family and friends all picked cotton in the sixties. And we weren’t slaves. We just needed to eat. The machines put us out of work and a lot of the old timers were really pissed off about it. There were no other jobs in small southern towns.


45 posted on 11/15/2011 11:01:59 AM PST by Terry Mross (I'll only vote for a second party)
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To: DannyTN
A lot of service companies customers are customers by choice, not necessity.

You get the price too high and they simply choose not to have the work done.

For example, if you can get your patio furniture sandblasted and repainted cheaper than buying new, you get it done. If the price of sandblasting and painting is on par with new, then there is really no point in having it done, your better off buying new.

If the service co. doing the sandblasting and painting can't pick up customers of choice such as this to bring in income, and only depend on customers of necessity to bring in income, a lot would go out of business.

The only way to keep your expenses and price for the work low is through low wages, the price of the expendable materials (paint, sand) is pretty much fixed.

46 posted on 11/15/2011 11:02:17 AM PST by IMR 4350
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To: DannyTN
It’s that illegal labor artificially lowered the going value of labor.

Absolutely true. I heard reports that things were particularly bad in the construction industry, where earnings for some tradesmen have been halved.

Another thing rarely pointed out: illegals are paid in cash and avoid income and social security deductions citizens would be subject to, and yet still have access to the programs those taxes pay for.

Illegal immigrant labor is heavily tax-payer subsidized.

Only in the media can you find people who can't understand simple supply and demand principle.

Their transcendent, implicitly condescending viewpoint is always entertaining; they sound like the gentry discussing their serfs. If the serfs refuse to work on their terms, then time to get new serfs.

If they ever wanted to be useful, they could look into questions like the following:
First, what percentage of illegals seek permanent settlement, instead of temporary work to gain cash, with the intention of returning? Is the currency exchange disparity?
Are their countries of origin cash-poor? (liquidity)
What incentives or negative incentives in their country of origin influence their migration?
What incentives in the host country do they find most attractive? Health-care? Schools? Gov. Handouts?
What extra-legal forces bear on the migration? (drugs etc.)

47 posted on 11/15/2011 11:03:18 AM PST by tsomer
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To: JerseyanExile
For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

That might be the problem right there. If the supply of illegal and import labor ended today this business man might have to do what other business owners have had to do in the past, pay better or find another way to process his product. Not sure why some conservatives have a have a hard time understanding that labor is subject to the same market pressures as other commodities. If you can't attract labor because you can not or will not pay what the market will bear, you need to look at your business model.

The availability of cheap, often illegal labor has killed the "dirty job" market for Americans by driving down the acceptable wage rate below livable standards. Not big screen TV, SUV, four bedroom three baths 2200sq ft on a half acre living, but two bedroom, one car, walk up living.

48 posted on 11/15/2011 11:04:05 AM PST by conservonator (God between us and the devil!)
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To: BigpapaBo

Didn’t know if there was or not. Since there are, that underscores the point - if there wasn’t really cheap illegal labor, this job would be performed by bots/machines.


49 posted on 11/15/2011 11:05:48 AM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Obadiah

BINGO
Maybe Randy ought to pay more
People used to work 10 hour a day in sweat shops, and they could subsist miserably on the wages ..oh for the good ol days
sarc


50 posted on 11/15/2011 11:06:06 AM PST by silverleaf ( we've gotten soft these days)
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