It’s been awhile since we’ve had a story about meatpackers and their immigrant labor. Heck, a few years ago we set up whole categories on the controversy. We had stories from Emporia, KS, Greeley, CO, Shelbyville, TN, Ft. Morgan, CO and Grand Island, NE.* Most of those involved Somali refugees demanding their rights to worship their religion on the job (and some stories about other immigrant groups angry at the company for bending to Somali demands).
The long and short of these stories is that the “international” meatpacking companies (some are not even owned by Americans) figured out that they could use cheap immigrant labor and keep wages low. I’ve been told by Americans who worked in meatpacking decades ago that wages were very good at Midwest meatpacking companies, BEFORE the illegal aliens were hired. (This article I’m about to report tells us that too.)
Then the giant corporations realized that they couldn’t function with immigration raids of their plants where the feds were looking for the illegals, so BINGO! they hit on the refugee population—not only were they in abundant supply, they worked cheap and were captive (most refugees can’t get back home even when they want to).
Bill Clinton’s Bosnians!
Bill Clinton was among the first (that we know of!) to bring large numbers of refugees for his corporate buddies in Iowa. I told you about that here in 2008. And, I continue to maintain that the US State Department is working as the head-hunter for large corporate interests and supplying them with cheap subsidized labor. I say “subsidized” because some of these companies are getting tax breaks for hiring poor people—and the refugee employees are getting welfare on the side. It is a very sweet deal for these companies! And, it’s doubly good for the Hard Leftwing Socialists because they get the third world population pouring into the US.
But, it’s not just the Lefties who want cheap labor for their Corporate friends, see Mark Krikorian at NRO on Republicans looking for cheap immigrant labor as well. The difference is that the Republicans only want the cheap labor while the Leftists get a twofer—cheap labor and they get to change the US population (and they can demand “rights” for the downtrodden as this article tells us).
I almost forgot—and the Islamists get the Hijra.
Now to the latest story on the poor and suffering meatpacker immigrant labor force from the Daily Planet (the reporter is Somali).
First the requisite sob story (LOL! is this basic Leftwing media reporter training—sob story right up front!).
Mohamud Kahin left his war-ravaged country five years ago, promised his siblings in Somalia they would never have to go to bed unfed and rolled up his sleeves for a new life in the United States.
Kahin arrived in Minneapolis in 2007. He has never been to school, and English remains a forever-foreign language to him.
It’s almost impossible to find a job around the Twin Cities, his relatives in Minneapolis told him when he first arrived. They gave him the most common advice given to a new adult immigrant with no English: go to the meat processing companies.
And Kahin did.
In 2008, he moved to Postville, Iowa, joining hundreds of Somali immigrants with similar stories. The 26-year-old Kahin got his share of large knives and cleavers on the fast-moving animal slaughtering and processing lines of Agri Star Meat & Poultry LLC — formally Agriprocessors. It’s the largest producer of kosher meat in the country and the biggest employer in Postville.
Kahin worked more than 40 hours a week as a meat packer in both frigid and oven-like conditions.
“My feet got really swollen,” Kahin said of the first few weeks of the job, speaking in Somali. “There were blisters on the bottom on my heel. The pain was constant.”
He had to stick with the job so he could send $500 a month to his family in Kismayo — it was a way to keep the promise he had made to his siblings: they would never go to bed hungry.
And, we sure don’t want those Al-Shabaab Jihadists going to bed hungry either. Remember, the US government stopped this money transfer awhile back because some was surely going to the Jihadists.
In the early 1980s [at the same time the Refugee Resettlement Act passed Congress and was signed by Jimmy Carter—ed] meatpackers left US cities and moved to the countryside—surely because property taxes in the cities drove them out and they discovered cheap immigrant labor.
According to the report, 20 to 50 percent of workers at meat processing industries are immigrants and refugees from Africa, Central America, and Mexico.
More than 30 years ago, meatpacking and processing industries were located in the heart of Midwestern cities, including St. Paul, Chicago and Kansas City. New immigrant workers [there weren’t many then, it was mostly American labor—ed] and many Americans in the industries enjoyed “comparable salaries to middle-class workers in the auto and steel industries,” according to the report.
In the early 1980s, however, these jobs were relocated to rural parts of the Midwest and South because “of a much broader reorganization of the industry,” the report said. And a sharp decline in wages has followed. [So tell me why a move to the country would necessarily reduce wages?—ed]
Today, new immigrant communities, documented or undocumented, are finding themselves in rural areas in search of meatpacking job opportunities.
Poor discriminated-against Muslim workers! Can’t speak English, can’t take prayer breaks—boo-hoo!
Many meatpacking immigrant workers are undocumented or don’t speak enough English. Most don’t know their rights as employees or are afraid to complain. Consequently, they fall victims to supervisors.
“Abuse was often based on race, ethnicity, and immigration status,” the report said. “Undocumented immigrants were insulted and singled out for the worst jobs because they were unlikely to complain.”
Two years ago, JBS Swift was alleged to be a hostile work place for the Somali and Muslim workers because of their race, immigration status and religion, according to a 2010 news release from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you have the energy, check out our 83 previous POSTS (Greeley/Swift/Somali controversy category) on what really happened with those Somali demands and turmoil created in those midwestern meatpacking plants a couple of years ago. By the way, JBS Swift is a Brazilian Company and we get to help support their immigrant labor force through our social services! Cool huh!
*Type each of those city names into our search function for more fun with refugee meatpacker stories.