Editor’s note: As I reported here last week, I received a letter at my home from a Washington, DC lawfirm representing Chobani, LLC and its principal shareholder Hamdi Ulukaya. The letter also references Mr. Ulukaya’s foundation (The Tent Foundation).
They claim that several points I made in a post below are false based on information published by the New York Times, Bloomberg and CNN.
After considering how best to address their many concerns with my post, I determined that it would be most efficient and transparent to simply present their point of view.
So here it is:
~They say that Chobani and Mr. Ulukaya support diversity of opinion.
~They say that Chobani and the Tent Foundation have not advocated bringing more refugees to the US. (They do not say whether Mr. Ulukaya has called for an increase in refugee admissions to the US, only that the Chobani company and Tent have not.)
~They say that Chobani, the Tent Foundation and Mr. Ulukaya have been clear about their objective to provide opportunities for refugees. (Ed—That transparency includes having the Tent Foundation publish a refugee hiring guide jointly with a US refugee resettlement contractor, see here.)
~They say that private companies like Chobani are not involved in selecting refugees or the number of refugees to be admitted and that only the federal government plays that role. (Ed.—of course Chobani cannot make, or be involved in, federal decisions on refugee selection, numbers, and their placement. Any such involvement, if shown would be the proper subject of an Inspector General investigation. But, as evidenced by the refugee hiring guide, the Tent Foundation has become an important vehicle for Mr. Ulukaya to show support for the the federally-funded resettlement contractor community.)
~ They say that the Foundation, Chobani LLC or Mr. Ulukaya have not lobbied to influence the refugee resettlement work of the federal government. (Ed.—Even without lobbying, as shown by the hiring guide prepared by the largely federally-funded Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service for the Tent Foundation, the Foundation has shown support for the federal resettlement contractor community.)
~ They say they do not approve of my discussion about a business model built on a steady supply of cheap legal immigrant labor that must rely on welfare to supplement inadequate wages.
~And they clearly disagree with my opinion that it isn’t humane to remove people from their cultural comfort zones to supply the labor needs of large global corporations. (Ed—they say they support diversity of opinion.)
~ They report in the letter that they told World Net Daily to remove a false statement about Chobani pledging to hire more refugees. (Ed.—I assume that means they want it to be clear that Chobani has not pledged to hire more refugees, but isn’t that what the Tent Foundation is all about?)
~Taking offense at my inference that refugees are at the lower end of the pay scale, they cite several media outlets reporting that Chobani employees are paid well above state and federal minimum wages, receive group health benefits and participate in a retirement plan.
A 2016 report from CNN (cited in the letter as documentation of salaries) mentions that Chobani is proud of its starting hourly wage that is in the $11-$12 per hour range (below the presently accepted living wage of $15 an hour), but that Mr. Ulukaya says he is planning to move gradually to the $15 an hour wage. That sounds good, but the CNN article is more than two years old so it would be useful to know if clear progress toward that higher wage has been made in keeping with Mr. Ulukaya’s “Humanity First” solution to immigration.
~They state that Chobani has never tried to exploit wage discrepancies between American workers and the refugee workers at the Chobani plants. (Ed.—In case you are wondering how many refugees are employed by Chobani, a 2016 report at the Huffington Post says the company employs refugees at 30% of the work force. I have seen other reports with up to 40%. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chobani-ceo-refugee-immigrant-hamdi-ulukaya_us_58189ac4e4b0990edc336cab )
We will be seeking more information from primary sources to make our own assessment of the issue of wages. As for welfare utilization, perhaps Chobani LLC in both New York and Idaho, seeking to set the record straight, would undertake a survey of their refugee employees use of social services including food stamps, housing subsidies and medical care, etc. and make public that information.
Below is the original post that prompted the October 2, 2018 letter to me from the law firm representing Chobani LLC. The post should now be read with the additional context provided above.
The original post follows:
What does this have to do with refugees?
Everything(!) because Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is the primary pusher, through his Tent Foundation***, for global corporations to promote bringing more refugees to the US (and to move others around the world) to provide them with a steady supply of cheap LEGAL immigrant labor.
We have written a lot about Chobani Yogurt and its hiring practices in New York and in Twin Falls, Idaho. See my Chobani files here.
Chobani was back in the news this week because he received a Global Citizen Award along with the ‘maverick’s’ widow. I suspect if someone researched the Atlantic Council you would find George Soros lurking somewhere in its background!
The gang is all here…..
I laughed to see the headline at Breitbart, thanks to Richard @highblueridge for sending it:
Chobani CEO Pleads with Corporations to Hire Refugees: U.S. Needs ‘Humanity First’ Immigration Policy
LOL! Humanity first! really!
Is it humane to bring more low-skilled workers to the US, yanking them from their cultural comfort zones around the world so they can work menial jobs in the food industry (think Meatpackers! and of course Yogurt manufacturers) via refugee contractors (aka head hunters) who then help the refugees sign up for all of their welfare services (because wages aren’t high enough, they need to be subsidized by you!).
You have to hand it to them! They have figured out a great business model.
I swear that these big global companies must send everyone to some sort of Public Relations 101 class where they are taught to fit the word “humanity,” “humanitarian,” or “humanitarianism” in to every public utterance they make.
Note that the word ‘humanity’ is never applied to impoverished, job-seeking, Americans!
Read my lips: It is about cheap compliant labor!
(With the Democrat’s side-benefit being that they get more socialist-leaning voters from the refugee arrivals.)
Read John Binders story from Breitbart.
Then, you can have even more fun if you follow the link to the CNN report about Ulukaya’s big award—awarded to him by no less than another of our old favorites from the Obama Administration—Samantha Power (see my many posts on what one writer called Hillary, Susan Rice and Power—Obama’s “humanitarian Vulcans!”).
US yogurt billionaire’s solution to immigration: ‘Humanity first’
(CNN) Hamdi Ulukaya, who built yogurt empire Chobani after immigrating to the US in the mid-90s, is challenging Americans to rethink the way they view immigration.
“I have nothing against America first, but ‘humanity first too,'” said Ulukaya in an exclusive interview with CNN on the sidelines of an event for his nonprofit, called Tent Partnership for Refugees.
Staying out of politics but taking a whack at Trump (ROFLMAO):
Ulukaya has sought to keep his mission of assisting refugees above the political fray. But on occasion he has denounced the administration’s immigration policies and the way it enforces them. The issue is deeply personal for Ulukaya — a self-made billionaire who grew up tending goat and sheep in rural Turkey.
Ulukaya started recruiting immigrants and refugees to work at Chobani in 2010 — a strategy that drew vicious attacks from far right-wing conspiracy theorists who have spread lies about the company, including allegations Chobani embarked on a secret plot to increase America’s Islamic population.
About 30 percent of Chobani’s employees are immigrants or refugees. He says his employees and suppliers are worried.
Ulukaya, who launched Tent in 2016, has successfully urged companies to develop solutions by “mobilizing resources, innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit of the business community.”
“They [companies] all know that if you don’t find the way to solve this problem, or make it easier, this human tragedy is going to turn into one of the biggest problems for our children going forward,” he said.
This week, Tent added 20 brands to a growing list of partners pledging to hire refugees or help them build a better life. The latest companies to commit to the cause include Hilton, pasta maker Barilla, Microsoft and Uniqlo. In total, Tent has secured promises from more than 100 companies.
“Even if governments were stepping up to do the right thing, which many, including the US government, are not, the crisis is too big for government,” said Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, as she presented Ulukaya the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award this week.
In 2005, Ulukaya bought a defunct food factory in upstate New York with a small business loan to start making cheese. He eventually grew that into Chobani, which has become the top-selling Greek yogurt brand in the US. Several years after opening his factory, he started hiring refugees who lived in nearby areas.
He tapped the refugee community again in Idaho when Chobani opened a plant in Twin Falls, which is close to the dairy farmers who supply the raw material for his yogurt. Because of his efforts to hire and help refugees, Ulukaya has become the target of far-right websites and bloggers. One site accused Chobani of “call[ing] on [the] biggest American companies to join [an] Islamic surge.”
Laughing again! So will Chobani threaten to sue CNN for bringing all this up again???
Do not miss my post about how the Tent Foundation hired the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (one of nine federal resettlement contractors) to write a refugee hiring guide.
***Go here and have a look at the global corporations supporting the movement of refugee laborers around the world. Notice Twitter is one of Tent’s corporations. And, I am sure you will find others that you might not have suspected.
P.S. Why has no one written a book on Samantha Power, a dangerous woman who will be back if the Dems regain the Oval Office?