Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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 ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: agriculture; illegalimmigration; labor; minimumwage
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 141-154 next last
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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

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?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

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. ~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: JerseyanExile

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

“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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

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!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Obadiah

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

50 posted on 11/15/2011 11:06:06 AM PST by silverleaf ( we've gotten soft these days)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GladesGuru
And with no minimum wage law giving any impetus.
51 posted on 11/15/2011 11:06:27 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Java4Jay
One can find work if they want to. It may not be what they want or pay what they are accustomed to.

Bull! Some jobs just don't make economic sense.

You think the dentist is going to lower his rates because some half-wit tells a worker to pull himself up by his bootstraps?

Market economics require market wages. There is no alternative.

52 posted on 11/15/2011 11:08:00 AM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: napscoordinator

I worked at a Baskin Robbins in High School. We were given “waitress wages” because we could get tips (ever tip the ice cream scooper? Yeah, me neither). It was 2.10 an hour in 1978. I’ve never had so much fun in all my life and my best friend and I hung out while the other worked, so basically they got two workers for the pay of one. We loved our boss who bought the business from from an old tightwad. She was in the red from the beginning. We knew it and did whatever she needed. In turn, she let us make and take ice cream pies home for Christmas, because it was all she could give us.

I learned how to fix the shake machine with plastic spoons as shims, clean frosty freezers and clear drains. We all worked together and the owner cried and hugged me when I went off to college.

She stayed in business until they grazed the shop for a grocery store. I loved that job.

53 posted on 11/15/2011 11:08:49 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

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???

The market sets the price. If you offer less than the market deems appropriate, you don't get any takers. Obviously at some hourly rate prospective employees will be lined up at the door.

When governments regulate and otherwise distort markets, a side effect is often that market participants find ways to reduce their costs and avoid the true costs of the market. Hiring illegal employees is one way to do this, as would be paying wages in cash so that the employees don't have to report and pay taxes. Other even more unsavory schemes are used in other markets to obtain cut rate labor.

One way to reduce labor costs, if that is your goal, is to increase the supply of people who need or want to work. Reducing benefits to the non-working is one good approach as you noted.

Another way to do this would be to create a new, streamlined visa process for immigrants sponsored by an employer who would be responsible for their support while they are in the USA. These workers would no doubt be ready to gut fish all day, but they wouldn't be as cheap and easily manipulated and exploited as illegal immigrants. I doubt the fish processor would support such a plan.

54 posted on 11/15/2011 11:09:17 AM PST by freeandfreezing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: asinclair
It is not so much a mindset as it is a fact. Our family farm will offer $8-12/hour for field help. In addition to that, we will provide you with transportation if you have none, and we will feed you snacks, a good lunch, and everything you might want to drink during the day.

There are few takers. Why do you think that is? The pay is excellent for this area of the country. Please explain to me why people won't take that work. I anxiously await your answer and solution.

55 posted on 11/15/2011 11:09:27 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies. Plan it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: JerseyanExile

***few Americans are willing to take these sorts of jobs at these wage levels.****

Bunkum. Back before 1964, you had a choice. Work or starve. The only work here was picking beans for one cent a pound or cleaning out chicken houses, bucking hay, catching chickens, all agriculture work so they paid well below minimum wage. The CHICKEN MAN had the area in an economic stranglehold so no one made enough to escape till Sam Walton began his Walmart stores.

Anyone worth his salt tried to feed his family. Only the slackers tried to get government “commodities” and they were looked down on by everyone.

If you came into this area with money you had better start with a positive cash flow immediatly or you would soon be so poor you could not leave to go elsewhere.

Now the government has “ruined” the slackers and no one will work for low wages if they can get on welfare.

56 posted on 11/15/2011 11:09:40 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Terry Mross

I don’t doubt that you worked what you jobs you could to make a living, and did it honorably. But technology advances, and over time it has put a lot of people out of work. But it has also created a lot of new and more profitable work for those who can adapt. Lots of folks used to make their living building wooden barrels (Coopers) or pounding metals into useful shapes (Smiths). Time and technology stand still for no one and the competition has no mercy.

The only choices are advancement or extinction. Stand still and you will get run over. Using illegal immigrant labor is an effort to stop the clock and continue an obsolete model of business and labor.

57 posted on 11/15/2011 11:13:16 AM PST by SargeK
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: moehoward
"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."

Yea, I have ... I live in Louisiana for pete's sake. You hang them up and pull the skin off and then cut the filets. It ain't rocket science, nor is it even difficult.

Have you ever butchered an animal? Even studied the cuts that are involved in butchering an animal? I have. There is not even a remote similarity to cutting up a fish.

58 posted on 11/15/2011 11:13:43 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies. Plan it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: JerseyanExile

People have lost sight of their actual value to a company. They think simply that if you have a job (no matter how trivial) the employer should pay you (what you deem)a living wage. Furthermore, today’s employee thinks of a job as a government mandated right, not a simple privilege.

Whether people like it or not, you are a leased piece of flesh hired to perform a certain function for the business. It may be directly producing income or it may be simply a paperwork job processing needless government and state mandated regulations and requirements. In all, the company “rents” your time and pays you according to the difficulty of replacing you.

College, college, college education is the magic piece of paper (no matter what the degree) to enter the workforce for the first time. Not at the bottom, but somewhere in the middle. Most graduates who get laid off don’t have the slightest idea that while they were in college learning things that had nothing to do with a productive society, the uneducated (no higher than high school) workers were busy learning a trade or function that almost guaranteed their futures in finding employment.

Most employees today have no loyalty to their employer and today’s employers have no loyalty to their employees.

50 years ago things were much different. It was expected that children worked and earned their own spending money while learning something totally lost in today’s society...the work ethic. Eight hours work for eight hours pay.

There was no unemployment that even compares with today’s unemployment benefits and pay. Welfare was based upon substance rations and it was shameful not to have a job.

Things are vastly different today. Unemployment is a free ride while it lasts. The welfare safety net is in place. And it is not a shame to move back in with your aged parents while searching for the type job YOU WANT.

Now, to the field hands. Yes, I worked in the field as a boy. Now, to the point. We can thank the U.S. Government and all elected officials for the mess we currently find ourselves in regards to illegal labor.

1. We don’t enforce laws dealing with “wetbacks.”

2. We are afraid to even touch one, fearing a civil rights lawsuit.

3. The government has raised the minimum wage to the point that many hire illegals to fill jobs in which it is laughable to pay more than $5.00 per hour.

4. Legal beagles are sitting at the door of every employer just waiting for something to trigger a lawsuit or a settlement out of the fear of filing one.

5. The cost of government regulations such as SS and Medicare matching, workman’s compensation, unemployment insurance, insurance to protect the employer for catastrophic legal settlements for accidents or perceived discrimination, and a whole host of other costs in having a legal employee work for them.

6. Many field workers are paid in cash so that it cannot be traced to either the employee or from the records of the company. This is a great financial incentive for the employer not to hire legal Americans and our inept government does very little to investigate it.

7. And...the most important reason that American workers won’t work on farms is that they actually make more real income from the welfare and unemployment system and the fact that they are not even required to take jobs that don’t match their past employment history.

In summation, our government provides every incentive to prevent (or to provide an excuse) for unemployed workers not to work at any job available. After all, if they did, they just might be able to work at that job until they found a better job instead of sucking the teat of big Government’s hog while we hard working taxpayers shovel food (dollars) into the pig’s mouth.

Farmers are supposed to be business people. If they have to pay a little more to hire legal employees, so be it. In business, if your raw materials or products cost more, you simply have to pass the cost along to maintain your profit margin. Farmers should be no different...but they are.

They were the first welfare recipients during the depression and have increased their dependence upon the teat of government ever since. They have gone from the small individual family farm to gigantic farming corporations gleaning millions in subsidies while not raising crops that they can sell on the free market but only to the government controlled market.

They are no longer businessmen and exist at the money trough provided by the government Politicians and reciprocate accordingly. Consequently, the government looks the other way when it comes to illegal aliens working the fields.

Sorry for the rant but this farmer/illegal/legal worker stuff drives me crazy.

Close the borders, fence them, run all of the illegals out of our country and then get rid of all regulations that make American employers resist hiring.

59 posted on 11/15/2011 11:16:13 AM PST by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JustaDumbBlonde
"Just how much do you think an unskilled worker should be paid to gut a catfish???"

Whatever the market bears.

Guess this guy should simply go out of business and join the doles.

Why should be owe it to this guy to keep him in business? And especially by allowing him to break the law? If he can't hire cheaply and others can, he deserves to go out of business.

But the rules should be the same for everybody. Not enforcing the rules just drives the honest law abiding people out of business. This guy who is hiring the illegals has probably already driven honest employers who were hiring Americans out of business.

60 posted on 11/15/2011 11:16:19 AM PST by DannyTN
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 141-154 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson