What does that mean for the masses of refugees and other immigrants waiting to find a spot on the chicken or pork processing line in America?
Frankly, it spells doom and our great minds in Washington had better be working on a plan for managing the millions admitted to the US each year as cheap expendable labor.
“As companies have recovered their revenues and reopened their supply chains, they have increasingly invested not on rehiring the workforce but on automation and on reducing their dependence on manpower.”
(Leslie Joseph at Foresters)
The story is from Forbesand it addresses one of the many changes coming to America in the wake of the Chinese virus ‘crisis.’
Coronavirus Is Forcing Companies To Speed Up Automation, For Better And For Worse
Coronavirus will force companies to speed up their plans to replace jobs with automation, according to a report published by analyst company Forrester. In its report, Forrester notes that many companies are set to invest more in automation than in rehiring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, corroborating earlier reports that had claimed many businesses were already planning to accelerate their automation strategies.
The news comes as businesses ponder how they can resume working amid lockdowns and social distancing. And while many will take the news as confirmation of their worst automation-themed fears, Forrester’s report urges companies who haven’t already done so to ramp up their automation plans. Indeed, Forrester holds that automation may become key to surviving a coronavirus recession, at least as far as businesses are concerned.
Let’s hope some in Washington are thinking ahead, but don’t hold your breath!
Update: After I had posted this story, I spotted this one at The New Yorkerentitled:
An A.F.L.-C.I.O. Adviser Considers the Future of American Workers
It is all about Presidential politics, race and voting, but a key word is missing when Michael Podhorzer, the former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., who now serves as a senior adviser to the union’s president, Richard Trumka, discusses the future of the American worker in the wake of COVID.
That is the gist of this story fromProPublica (a Leftwing publication), which reports on how the virus is creeping into slaughterhouses across the country.
However, meat industry reps are optimistic that the virus will not slow meat production and that the virus won’t end up in the food supply.
Longtime readers know that Big Meat has been changing America one town at a time as it relies heavily on immigrant and refugee labor and as such has been a favorite topic of mine here at RRW since 2008 when I first learned that Bill Clinton was helping supply his meatpacking buddies with refugee labor from Bosnia.
What Happens If Workers Cutting Up the Nation’s Meat Get Sick?
As meatpackers rush to meet demand, their employees are starting to get COVID-19. But some workers say they’re going to work ill because they don’t have paid sick days and can be penalized for staying home.
Here’s what has happened in the meatpacking industry in the last week alone:
A federal food safety inspector in New York City, who oversaw meat processing plants, died from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
A poultry worker in Mississippi, employed by America’s third largest chicken company, tested positive for the virus, causing a half-dozen workers to self-quarantine. Another worker in South Dakota, employed by the world’s largest pork producer, also tested positive.
In Georgia, dozens of workers walked out of a Perdue Farms chicken plant, demanding that the company do more to protect them.
And Tyson Foods told ProPublica on Friday that “a limited number of team members” had tested positive for the disease.
As COVID-19 makes its way across the country, leading to panic grocery buying in state after state, the stresses on the nation’s food supply chain have ratcheted ever higher. But in industries like meatpacking, which rely on often grueling shoulder-to-shoulder work, so have the risks to workers’ health.
In interviews this week, meat and poultry workers, some in the country without authorization, noted with irony that they have recently been labeled “essential” by an administration now facing down a pandemic. Yet the rules of their workplaces — and the need to keep food moving — pressure them to work in close quarters, even when sick.
Many of the nation’s meatpackers declined to respond to specific questions about how they’ve dealt with infected workers or what they’ve done to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their plants. Or they offered vague assurances that workers are being protected.
So far, only two meatpacking companies — Tyson Foods and Cargill — have announced companywide temperature checks to screen employees for signs of the virus. Two more say they have begun rolling them out.
But except for unionized plants, meat and poultry workers rarely get paid when they’re sick. At many companies, including Tyson, workers receive disciplinary points for calling in sick. Because points lead to termination, workers told ProPublica, they and some of their colleagues have continued to work even when sick, despite the coronavirus.
Even before the coronavirus, the meat industry had complained of a labor shortage as low pay and harsh conditions collided with a tight labor market, tighter borders and dramatic reductions by the Trump administration in the number of refugees, who make up the backbone of many plants’ workforce.
“Our primary focus is to keep our plants running so that we can feed America,” Tyson’s president, Dean Banks, said on CNN. “We’re running the plants as hard as we can.”
And some analysts note that even if an outbreak of the virus forced a plant to close, the industry — with more than 500,000 employees at 4,000 slaughterhouses and processing plants across the country — is big enough to absorb the loss.
There is much more, it is a long article, continuehere.
In the summer of 2016 I traveled around the midwest and west to have a look at meatpacking towns and how the cheap labor demands of Big Meat were changing America.
If you can’t live without meat, my recommendation is to find a local producer so you know just where and how your food has been processed.
Thanks to several readers who tipped me off to this news reported by Neil Munro at Breitbart last Thursday:
GOP Sen. Jim Risch Offers Citizenship to Kurdish, Syrian Populations
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) is pushing a new bill that would transport many Muslims from chaotic Syria and Kurdistan into America’s schools and workplaces.
The bill creates a refugee program for Syrians and Kurds who claim to have helped U.S.-funded armed groups, such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Risch is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, so his legislation may pass as soon as this week.
But his bill would provide a “carve-out” in refugee law for Middle Eastern fighters, said a source. Also, the uncapped refugee inflow would include many unvetted and unidentified people because U.S. officials cannot prevent or even detect fraud in the war-torn areas occupied by hostile or corrupt warlords, said the source.
Once people are admitted as refugees, they are put on a fast-track to citizenship.
The program would import Syria’s chaotically diverse cultures and conflicts back into the United States, the official said, adding, “It is the ‘Invade the World/Invite the World’ attitude.”
The legislation reflects the politicians’ starry-eyed support for foreign groups, regardless of the cost inflicted on Americans, the official said. “They care more about Syrians than they care about Americans,” the source said.
Risch’s bill is titled S.2641 and is named “Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019.” It was introduced October 17.
The bill cuts a hole through current refugee law to allow many Kurds and Syrians to be flown out of the war zone into the United States, providing they claim a connection to groups who were supported or funded by the U.S. government during the last few years….
The driving force for more refugees in Idaho is the ‘need’ for a continuous supply of cheap labor for large industries including dairy and, dare I say, yogurt manufacturing. Pols are eager to please their industry backers.
A trip down memory lane!
I guess the Senator has forgotten the 2015 controversyabout the possibility of Syrian refugees being placed in Idaho! The mere suggestion created a firestorm of public outrage.
Trying to silence the critics, the big paper there called citizens who had expressed fear at the prospect—“paranoid!”
I have an extensive archive on Idaho that new readers might want to visit to get up to speed on what has happened there over the last five years as refugee contractors push for more refugees to ‘welcome’ to the state.
Indeed rumors are swirling that contractors in Washington state have begun to move refugees across state lines into northern Idaho.
Idahoans should take the lead and let their Republican Senator know how they feel about more Middle Eastern (Religion of Peace) refugees coming to Idaho and to America!
Ten years ago they hid the fact that those poor third worlders coming in to the US as refugees were providing a steady supply of cheap labor for big business, now they are admitting it right up front and trashing Trump because he has cut their supply. Do you humanitarians out there really understand that the US Refugee Admissions Program is first and foremost for the pleasure of the Chamber of Commerce and businesses large and small which want to keep wages low? Why do you think the Republicans in Congress have made no serious move to reform the program?
And, secondly it is about giant ‘non-profits’ like Samaritas(formerly Lutheran Social Services Michigan) keeping their government funding flowing.
By the way Samaritas is a made-up word and why they dropped “Lutheran” is a mystery. (It is like HIAS dropping the “Hebrew” from its name!)
As I said here recently, if we have a labor shortage, let’s debate that, but then shut up about this being all about saving the downtrodden of the worldand trying to silence those of us questioning the business model (cheap immigrant labor brought to the US and supported with welfare by THE TAXPAYERS!).
One of the things I’ve wondered for years is: do the refugees coming in understand that low wage, often very dirty and difficult, jobs await them?
The wailing has become deafening as the refugee flow to America has slowed in the last year.
Here is Crain’s Detroit Businesswith this headline:
Refugee clampdown hits local nonprofits
The subheadline should be: Businesses aren’t getting their steady supply of taxpayer-supported laborers!
Here is a bit of the story:
Nonprofit services to help refugees fleeing war or persecution resettle in Southeast Michigan are a shell of what they were a year ago.
Local resettlement agencies have laid off much of their staffs and closed offices, following revenue decreases tied to a federal clampdown that has significantly reduced the number of refugees coming to the U.S., especially those from Middle Eastern and African countries that have been the mainstay of local resettlement efforts in recent years. [Revenue decreases because they are paid on a per refugee head basis!—ed]
Crain’s goes on….
The slowdown in acceptance of refugees and increased vetting was ordered by the Trump administration over concerns about security. It has had an impact on not just nonprofits but also employers who were relying on resettled refugees as a source of labor, local nonprofits say.
Similar cuts have played out at similar agencies in other parts of the country, said Steve Tobocman, executive director of Global Detroit, a proponent of immigration as an economic development strategy.
“Ultimately, the current state of affairs impacts the services agencies can offer to integrate new refugees,” given the loss of economies of scale that come with larger resettlement numbers, Tobocman said.
To continue providing services to refugees already here, resettlement agencies are seeking alternative funding such as grants from private funders.
And some are looking to local churches and community groups for help.
It is about time, why haven’t they been doing this (above)? Why? Because taxpayer funding was readily available, so why bother trying to raise private charity—that is hard work! Crain’scontinues….
“When we’re closing offices in Ann Arbor, where does a refugee go? They can no longer stop by our office to get basic support,” said Vickie Thompson-Sandy, president of Samaritas, a Detroit-based social services agency that counts refugee resettlement among its services.
Some local companies are feeling the squeeze in their workforces.
Local manufacturing and retail employers that relied on new refugees as employees are calling the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Detroit on a weekly basis, said Tawfik Alazem, director of its Dearborn office. [USCRI is another of the nine federal contractors*** the US State Department hires to place refugees in your towns and cities.—ed]
Among them is Reino Linen Service, a company that launders and returns about 50 million pounds of linens to area hospitals, health clinics and doctors’ offices each year.
The company’s location in Brownstown Township, where public transportation is an issue, leads to high employee turnover, said Mary Onifer, a corporate human resources specialist for the company. [Truly a sweat shop says one commenter, here.—ed]
Reino has turned to organizations like USCRI Detroit for the past nine years to engage refugees as employees.
Once again we see federal refugee agencies are contractors (head hunters!) for businesses while they collect federal dollars for their supposed good works!
There is much more here, I’ve only snipped a tiny bit.
Don’t cry for Samaritas!
Now just to show you how Samaritas (a subcontractor of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is rolling in taxpayer bucks, and the head honchos are pulling down huge salaries, here are a couple of screenshots from a recent Form 990. Here is there income page—$30 million from taxpayers!
And here check out these huge salaries!
See more on Michigan by clicking here.
***The nine federal contractors you fund are here:
The number in parenthesis is the percentage of their income paid by you (the taxpayer) to place the refugees, line them up with jobs, and get them signed up for their services! From most recent accounting, here.
That should be the debate. Anything else is just mud being thrown around to confuse the taxpaying public and make people feel guilty about questioning our LEGAL immigration programs.
For instance, this storyat something called ‘Workforce’posits that refugees’ greatest contributions are that their hiring brings much-needed diversity to the work place—WTH! Diversity! Like the diversity Muslim refugees bring when they file lawsuits against meatpackers for special prayer privileges in slaughter plants?
And, just forget the notion that the US Refugee Admissions Program is a solely humanitarian effort on the part of the US—it is about the movement of labor around the world (and about Democrat voters), but not first about welcoming the stranger!
Let me repeat! If America needs cheap (compliant immigrant) labor, have that debate and leave the diversity/humanitarian mumbo-jumbo out of it!
Here is Workforce:
As immigration issues swirl around businesses seeking to hire foreign talent, a new guide published by the Tent Foundation is still touting the benefits of hiring refugees.
The “U.S. Employers’ Guide to Hiring Refugees”highlights the positive aspects businesses reap when hiring refugees. Diversity tops the list of what refugees bring to the workplace, according to Gideon Maltz, executive director of Tent Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with businesses to help them integrate refugee workers into their workplace. Whether it’s experience or language, refugees can provide new insights from their respective countries.
“A more diverse workforce fosters new ideas and innovations, which is necessary in our more competitive, global market,” Maltz said.
Finding those refugee workers poses a challenge, based on recent statistics.
Based on the Tent Foundation guide, a refugee is “an individual who is unable to return to his or her home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group.”
Employers have options beyond refugees if they want to diversify their workforce with foreign workers. Immigrants on an H-1B visa, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, also bring with them their foreign experiences and knowledge. [I’ve skipped most of the discussion about other legal immigration programs to bring in foreign workers. The reporter seems to be mixing them up with the refugee program anyway. Most refugees don’t come in with special skills.—ed]
Burke [Richard Burke, CEO of Envoy Global, an enterprise platform that works with companies to make the hiring and managing process of a global workforce easier] reasoned that businesses could be putting more of an effort into introducing more immigrants because they see the benefit diversity brings to a company’s culture.
“To address the supply and demand imbalance employers are saying, ‘We have opportunities, we want to grow, we want to contribute to the economy,’ ” said Burke.
“But to do that we need the talent and the workers to do it. And the only way to do it is through foreign national talent.”
Envoy Global’s “2018 Immigration Trends Report” looks at opinions of employers on immigration and their hiring process. Based on the report, businesses that would like to implement this strategy are finding it difficult to do so in the face of the tougher immigration standards.
“Eighty-five percent of respondents say the U.S immigration program policies have impacted their ability to hire,” said Burke.
Contact the refugee contractors!
We already know from past reporting that some of the usual gang of nine refugee contractors***are working with global meat companies to help them find and retain cheap (compliant because they can’t go home!) refugee labor. Workforce continues….
For potential employers that want to hire refugees, Maltz advises them to reach out to their local resettlement agency since those organizations can help with logistical details. Managers should also prepare to spend extra money on English as second language courses and other programs to help new workers acclimate to their new home.
“[It] may require some upfront investments but these are small in relation to the benefits refugees will bring to your company,” Maltz said.
Yup! They mention the “higher retention rates” of refugee laborers. Of course, because again, they can’t go home and are dependent on their handlers at the refugee contracting agencies for their other needs.
See more on the Tent Foundation, here. And, I wrote about it here (working with Lutheran head hunters at LIRS)!
So cut the crap, stop throwing the mud around, and have the debate about US labor shortages (does it exist and what is the best way to deal with it, if it is even true)!
***Here are the nine federal refugee contractors. They have been complaining as their regular paying client numbers (refugees) have declined during the Trump Administration. They pretend their sole mission is humanitarian, but they work closely and receive funding from big global corporations in addition to their generous contributions from you—the taxpayer!
The original Refugee Act of 1980, that set up this monstrosity, envisioned a public-private partnership that over the years has almost completely morphed in to a federal program. Congress must reform the program and get these supposedly non-profit middlemen out of the process.
The number in parenthesis is the percentage of their income paid by you (the taxpayer) to place the refugees, line them up with jobs, and get them signed up for their services (aka welfare)! From most recent accounting, here.