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Country Discussion Topics
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Migrants Revisited
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Ron/PA    Posted 11-08-2003 at 12:54:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
I got in a little late and just read the Migrants post. I have some very different views on this subject.
While Victor and Juana are to be commended for sitting outside Wal-Mart while there children sleep in the car, what kind of child care is that? Motels are $45.00 per day, and 2 people can only make $45.00 per day picking oranges? Why Bother? How do they buy gas, food, clothing?? Perhaps they should have stayed up north and picked apples, a good picker can make $100.00 per day in the northeast.
All through the 50's, 60's, and 70's we had migrant housing around here, it was trashed, used for drug trade, and prostitution. Finally the farm owners said "ENOUGH" closed them down, and began to force them to provide for their own housing. It was amazing how many could suddenly afford campers to pull behind their cars.
When Juana asks "Who will pick the oranges?" I think the answer can be found in their own cars. THEY are willing to work for $22.50 per day, if they did not do it, then the orange growers would have to raise the wage and hire folks that would do it for $50.00 dollars per day. A living wage is not too much to ask for a decent days work.
I think it's time to quit thinking within the box of free gimmies, and start thinking that the farmers should expect to pay a decent wage, the help should expect a decent wage, and the kids should be home, not sleeping in some wally world parking lot, eating donuts for breakfast!
Ron (who wonders why anyone would come here for a breakeven job???)



sven    Posted 11-09-2003 at 06:51:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why won't the farmer pay a decent wage?
The real question is, why can't the farmer get a decent price for the crop when he sells it?
Of course, if he did get a decent price, then you would be complaining about the price you have to pay at the grocery store. It all goes hand in hand, and the person who does the actual work is always at the bottom of the food chain.


doc    Posted 11-09-2003 at 06:13:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hasn't anyone read the news? They should have gone to the personel dept. inside. Wal-Mart just got busted for hiring illegal immigrants to clean their stores through outside contractors. WM said they didn't know they were illegal. (phsaw, yeah right) Try real hard to stay away from that store. They have been sued so many times for not paying overtime they could have paid the overtime with the lawyers fees the have shelled out.


Cindi    Posted 11-08-2003 at 20:33:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
I imagine they didn't stay up north because apple season is probably about over. I also imagine that apples pay better maybe because they bruise more easily. Oranges are tough and it doesn't matter how far you drop them or toss them they hold up very well. Especially earlies, they're still half green. Easier to handle means more competition. Even the kids can and do and will happily work.

I am basing the 45.00 dollars a day on their ages. A young strong person of eighteen or twenty could easily pick around sixty boxes of oranges a day, and the going rate is seventy five cents a box. Three and one half five gallon buckets will fill up a box. It takes about fifteen minutes operating at peak performance to fill up a box. So at a box every fifteen minutes that's nine hours to make 45.00 including no breaks.

Now I'm putting Victor and Juana at around my age and I am very lucky if I can pick twenty boxes a day. Course I don't do it every day, and they may be able to pick more, but even if they pick 120 between them that's still only ninety dollars a day and if they work seven days a week that's 630.00 a week. Now deduct 45.00 a night for a hotel room and that leaves 315.00 a week or like I said before, 45.00 a day for food and other necessities. Which is why a hotel room is out of the question. They may get one once or twice a week to get clean and sleep in a bed, but who knows.

I know that the migrants are hard on housing, but I also know that when I walk into the house after a day spent picking oranges all I want to do is drop to a horizontal postion somewhere and die for the night.

Oranges anywhere between the thighs and the head are easy, grab and drop them into the bucket, but then you must bend down to pick the ones that are dangling just above the ground or climb to get the ones that have to be picked with a ladder. Or crawl around on the ground and pick up the ones that are dropped from the ladder. You're crawling through fire ants and dodging thorns in the trees and yellow jacket nests, spiders, and hostile weeds. Then they must feed themselves and find a place to sleep for the night.

Here, the climate is nice enough that the grove owners could set up a tent city a few weeks out of the year with a couple of sources of running water and it would be a blessing. Have you ever seen The Grapes of Wrath? The folks in that story and these Mexicans have a lot in common. Everyone wants them to pick, but no one wants them around. Be seen and not heard.

I think under the circumtances their daycare solution was the best they could do, and I figured that doughnuts was better than noughnuts. There are parents out there who would kick the kids out and take the car seats for themselves, and as for a break even job, he11, there's tons of people who do that every day, make just enough to live on with nothing left over. The migrants just have a much lower standard of living. Not by choice I'm sure. If you had to get by on even a hundred dolars a day and pay a motel room out of that, and then gas and buy prepared food as you have no place to cook, I think you would find that the money would go really fast.

Back in the depression era cotton pickers were fed at least one meal and were given places to park and to stay for the night, even if they did sleep in their own vehicles or just pitched a tent. I'm sure if Juana and Victor knew they had a place to pitch it, they would invest in a tent, but have you priced a KOA lately? Same as a motel just about. The days of just pitching a tent by the river are over.

My husband's parents were migrant pickers. Potatoes, tomatoes, whatever they could do. They also chopped cedar and lived in tar paper houses (tar paper stretched around trees with a tar paper roof), even in the dead of winter. Fred was six years old before he lived in a real house for the first time. They lived on the land of the farmers year after year, even after the crops were picked they were allowed to stay as long as they wanted. That's not done anymore. The migrant workers now are chased from place to place until they do what Juana and Victor did. God love 'em.


cowgirlj    Posted 11-08-2003 at 19:48:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Isn't America the land of opportunity? Isn't that why some of our forefathers from Europe came here? For a better life. Better than what they had? For an opportunity to make something of themselves, for their families.

I think Cindi was trying to express a human interest story. A story of compassion.

Ron, I can understand your point of view. But there are people in every culture that will try to ruin it for all. We all know someone, (or know someone who knows someone), just like that. I don't care how much of a minority a person is, every person still deserves a fair chance in life.

* Okay, I'm zipping up my flame suit now, and crouching behind a BIG rock! *


Mudcat49    Posted 11-08-2003 at 18:38:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
The push is on to develop machines to pick oranges. There are a lot of juice oranges now being machine picked. This will result in a saving on the price of orange juice to the comsumer.
The sugar cane cutters from the islands complained and bitched so much that the sugar farms went 100% to machine cut cane. This is saving the sugar farms a lot of money. Now the people that were imported to cut cane are complaining that their income has been lost. There is no easy solution to the problem of the farm workers, the cost of production of oranges keeps going up and the price of orange juice keeps going down. It is the same in the vegetable business, that is why I am not growing vegetables any more and am selling cars, I had to quit farming before I lost everything I had worked all my life for. As for the two Mexicans that Cindi met only making $45.00 between the two of them a day then they must be very poor orange pickers, most orange pickers make over a hundred bucks a day picking oranges. A good friend of mine is the local postmaster and he tells me that on payday he has to put on extra clerks just to process the money orders going to Mexico from the orange pickers in just our town. Nuff said, I am sure the bleeding heart liberals will jump on the bandwagon now. But just remember, WHEN YOU GRIPE ABOUT THE FARMER, DON'T TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL!!!!!!!


MeeShee    Posted 11-08-2003 at 20:34:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Mudcat
You will not find no bleeding heart here nor will you ever see my truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Every one cries for the pour Mexican out in the field. Who's fault is it that conditions are so bad in Mexico? It is not the Americans. With all of the factories that have closed and moved to Mexico seems to me that they would wisen up and demand better pay and working conditions. They are not about to do anything as long as they are allowed to come here, work tax free and yet able to reap the benefits such as welfare, hud etc..

Look at Wal-Mart. They have spent more money in China building warehouses in the past 3 years than they have paid out in overtime to US workers in the past 10 years. THANK GOD that they finally got caught up in hiring illegal immigrants to clean their stores. They are bringing it home to America. While tens of thousands of people here in the US have lost their jobs because Wal-Mart can bring it from Mexico and China cheaper. Roll Back. They need Rolled back.


Randy    Posted 11-08-2003 at 13:06:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
We'll complain about the price of food if farmers had to pay more money to harvest food.
Also wonder why I work every day for a break even job!


~Lenore    Posted 11-08-2003 at 14:02:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
"..why they bother..?"
I guess they make it do more than "break even"
by sitting at WM while kids sleep in car.
Must be better than what is at "home",
no job and no money at all.
No one giving them donuts and milk.
I am not saying a approve,
I just guess in their circumstances,
I might find myself doing the same thing.
I am thankful I am not.


C Kulig    Posted 11-08-2003 at 18:55:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
"Must be better than what is at "home", "

I think your right. I work part time for a neighbor who hires Mexicans. Farm work in Wisconsin in the winter is no picnic. My point is I was working with one on an extra cold day. I made the comment, "This sure ain't Mexico is it?"
"Nope"
"I bet you wish you were back in Mexico about now!"
"NO!"

Tells you a little about what home must have been like.


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