I feel like I’m getting whiplash trying to follow all the happenings in Grand Island, NE as the conflicts surrounding the Swift meatpacking plant firings, and now hirings, continue. We learned yesterday that about 150 Somali workers had either quit or been fired over the issue of accommodating Muslim demands for break times that would disrupt other workers.
Now, according to the Grand Island Independent Swift is bringing in the Cubans.
Earlier this week, Dan Hoppes, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 22, said JBS Swift & Co. needed all its employees to keep the local plant working because of tight labor supplies.
But with some employees quitting because of this week’s protests and counterprotests over the issue of how — or whether — break times at JBS Swift should be altered, the company is bringing a new ethnic group to Grand Island.
Kris Burling, director of English language learners for the Grand Island public schools, said GIPS migrant recruiter Suyapa Gonzalez was told by her contact person at Swift that Cuban families would soon be arriving in Grand Island. [Do you have a “migrant recruiter” working in your local school system?]
Burling said Gonzalez was told a few Cuban fathers have already arrived in Grand Island in advance of their families but have not started working at Swift. Gonzalez also was told that perhaps eight to 10 families would be arriving in town this week.
According to databases at the Office of Refugee Resettlement we brought 60,144 Cuban refugees to the US from 1983 to 2005. In 2006 we resettled 3142. In 2007 the figure was 2923 and for FY 2008 we had brought 3749 Cubans through the end of August. That’s a total of just about 70,000 Cubans to the Somalis total so far of 83,000.
It appears that Swift was able to call up someone (in the federal government? in the volags?) and order up Cubans, just adds more evidence to my theory that the federal government is the employment service for big businesses.
How many of you knew we were still bringing Cubans to the US?