Did Montana Dodge a Bullet? Might it be Italy Right Now?

I have written a great deal about Montana over the years. Go here for my Montana archive: https://refugeeresettlementwatch.org/?s=Montana

The first thing I thought of when I read this post by an Italian man who describes how Italy is gone was whatever happened to that proposed Chinese meatpacking plant in Montana?

As described by author Giacomino Nicolazzo  the COVID disaster for Italy has its roots in the deals  between the Leftists running the Italian government and the Chinese who were furiously buying up one industry after another primarily in the Italian north.

A recipe for disaster?

Along with those purchases of major industries they were sending in Chinese workers, many from Wuhan, to help run their new acquisitions.  It is long, but well worth reading because it makes sense.

What Montana Chinese slaughterhouse you ask?

Senator Steve Daines

This one! I told you about it in 2017 when Montana ranchers and their US Republican Senator Steve Daines were cooking up a trade deal with China that would see the export of Montana beef to China.

But, someone figured it would be so much easier if the Chinese actually ran a meat packing facility right there in Montana.

Changing America one meatpacker at a time, now it’s Montana’s turn

Take the time to read what I said about the deal in 2017.

“It’s a really smart place for China to put in investment and to partner with Montana to have a really good packing industry and processing plant here.”

(Fred Wacker, rancher)

Here is one thing I said in that post:

I suppose there is one bright side–unlike Chobani Yogurt in nearby Idaho, I doubt the Chinese owners will approve of Muslim workers in light of their clear historical animosity to the ‘religion of peace.’  I can just see the mess when the Chinese company gets hit with some discrimination lawsuits when they say “NO” to Somali workers.

Heck, maybe they will insist on bringing in Chinese workers!

(Prescient wouldn’t you agree!)

So then what happened to the scheme?

I looked around today and the best answer I could find was that the deal began to fizzle when Trump’s trade war with China began.

Nevertheless in the summer of 2018, Montana cattlemen were still dreaming that they would see a giant Chinese meat plant in ‘Big Sky’ country.

From China Daily:

Montana hopes for beef deal with China’s JD.com despite Trump’s trade

HELENA, Montana – Montana officials are hoping that a blockbuster deal with Chinese retail giant JD.com to export local beef will be possible despite the US Government’s escalating trade war with China.

Jay Bodner https://mtbeef.org/dvteam/jay-bodner/

“We are still talking,” Jay Bodner, executive vice-president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSA), said.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Bodner said the win-win deal inked last November in Beijing is not dead in the water, despite a 25-percent tariff on $34 billion of imports from China imposed by the Trump administration last Friday.

Beijing’s expected response – an additional 25-percent import tax on top of an existing 12-percent hike – was hard for Montana to digest, especially in light of the pending JD.com deal.

“There is a pretty high level of concern,” Bodner, a rancher from eastern Montana who has been with the MSA for 16 years, said.

Comparing JD.com to America’s Amazon.com, he said the Chinese internet giant’s commitment to spend up to $100 million to build Montana’s largest meat processing facility was still on the table.

More here.

Silver lining…..

I guess we can safely say that any such deals like this one with China are dead in the wake of the plague exported from China to the world.

And, the importance of putting Americans first has never been so clear.

 

Will CEOs of Refugee Agencies Take Pay Cuts to Help Their Staff and Their Refugees?

There are some stories floating around that CEOs of some of America’s largest corporations are taking pay cuts to help keep more of their lower level workers on the job as the COVID-19 crisis continues.  Here is one from Forbes published two days ago.

David Miliband President and CEO of the Manhattan-based ‘charity’ International Rescue Committee. Are they reducing salaries to help the refugees they brought to America?

At the same time we are learning that the refugee agencies continue to be shuttered (staff reduced) and refugees are struggling. See refugees struggling in Bowling Green, KY and in Durham, NC.

So this morning I am wondering if ‘moneybags’ Miliband and other CEO’s of leading ‘charitable’ refugee agencies were giving up large salaries to help especially the refugees they have been dropping off across America for decades.  And, to save some of their low level employees from getting the budget ax.

Here below is a page from a recent International Rescue Committee’s Form 990.

(If the Form 990 doesn’t open, visit Guidestar, here.)

If they and others of the nine refugee contractors have begun to reduce salaries of their top employees, let me know so I can report their humanitarian generosity toward the most vulnerable among us.

 

To be fair, David Miliband has the most outrageous salary of the ‘non-profit’ groups changing America by changing the people, but 6-digit salaries are the norm in the refugee industry.

As I have said on many previous occasions, salaries would be none of our business if the organization was not living almost entirely on taxpayer dollars.

For my David Miliband archive, click here.

North Carolina: Refugees out of Work and Struggling

This story is no surprise and I expect there will be many more like it in the coming days and weeks.

Refugees work at menial labor—cleaning hotel and dorm rooms, working in restaurant kitchens, etc. all no longer essential services—and they are increasingly unemployed (however $$$ is on the way from the feds).

I guess we can say it sure is a good thing that the Trump administration cut the flow of refugees to America starting last October or we would have even more unhappy, struggling people as those described here.

From The Daily Tar Heel:

Refugees in Orange County struggle to make ends meet amid COVID-19 economic hardships

All those North Carolinians who have been ‘welcoming’ refugees to the state for the last decade need to get out there now and pay the rent, tutor the kids and feed/clothe the impoverished people they invited to their towns and cities.

Coronavirus has forced many families to alter their ways of life. Although COVID-19 has impacted almost every Orange County resident, a group that has been especially devastated is the local refugee community.

Refugees can already be a vulnerable population without something like the coronavirus, said Flicka Bateman, director of the Refugee Support Center, a volunteer-based organization that helps transition refugees in Orange County to their new lives.

“I know people who’ve been here less than three weeks, I can’t imagine what in the world for them it must be like,” she said. “They’re totally uprooted, they’ve left situations that were full of violence and uncertainty, and then they come here and instead of being able to learn English and get all these services, suddenly they’re told to stay where they are and people will do the best they can remotely. It’s just very tough.”

Orange County has about 1,200 refugees, primarily from Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria. [It would be many more if Trump had not cut the flow this year—ed]. Bateman said a lot of refugees in the area have lost their jobs or seen reduced hours, especially those who work in restaurants or hotels, or in food service and housekeeping at UNC, where dorms have been closed and dining services have been severely reduced.

[….]

Adam Clark https://worldreliefdurham.org/staff

Adam Clark, office director of World Relief Durham, a refugee resettlement agency based in Durham that serves refugees across the Triangle area, said programs that help refugees with employment have seen a spike in applications due to a greater amount of people needing sudden job assistance.

He said they’ve seen about 20-30 unemployment applications among refugees just in the last week, and a long list of people are already waiting.

“There are a lot of refugees worried about their rent, obviously the same things that are affecting everyone,” he said. “But I think it just affects them even more because of the sectors they work in.”

Hannah Olmstead, a junior at UNC who is a part-time caseworker at World Relief Durham, said as local school districts transition to online instruction, many refugee parents don’t have the English ability or understanding of American education to homeschool their children.

More here.

A public relations graphic from 2015 (Obama) refugee boom times:

I know it is hard to read. The original is here: https://charlotteawake.com/refugeeinfographics/

 

 

Meatpackers and COVID-19: Will the Supply of Meat Take a Hit as Workers Get Sick?

That is the gist of this story from ProPublica (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.

Can they keep up with the demand? “Grocery meat sales, excluding deli meat, surged a staggering 77% for the week ending March 15.”

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, continue here.

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.

My conclusion:

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.

Note that I have a tag for COVID-19 posts here at RRW.

You might be interested in my previous post about Bowling Green, Kentucky and its newly unemployed refugees.

 

Kentucky Refugee Contractor Pivots to Helping Refugee Clients Cope with Covid

Kentucky is in the top ten refugee resettlement states in the nation, but between the President’s reduction in the number of refugees that can be admitted and the present suspension of the refugee program due to the Coronavirus crisis, the resettlement agency in Bowling Green, International Center of Kentucky, is not seeing many new arrivals and is now trying to educate their ‘clients’ about the virus and help many with their unemployment problems.

Before I get to the story, I hope all of you are well.  I don’t know about you but even with more time, I’m not being as productive blogging here and at ‘Frauds and Crooks’ these days as I should be. But, one good thing is that there is more time to communicate with family and with friends, especially elderly friends, in my community.

From the Bowling Green Daily News:

Pandemic disrupts refugee resettlement by International Center

Before the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, Bowling Green’s refugee resettlement agency planned to welcome 400 arrivals this year.

Albert Mbanfu director of the International Center in Bowling Green will be helping refugee ‘clients’ get their unemployment insurance.

Now, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide, those plans have been thrown into chaos. International Center of Kentucky Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said Thursday that he expects the center will resettle less than half of the refugees it did last year.

“They will be barely trickling in,” Mbanfu said, speaking to a group of community representatives who assist with resettlement efforts.

[….]

Now, Bowling Green’s International Center has largely pivoted to assisting refugees who’ve been laid off work and informing the local community what steps they need to take to protect themselves from COVID-19, the respiratory disease that coronavirus causes.

Through social media and on its website, Mbanfu said, the center has been sharing videos in various languages like Swahili and Arabic to help inform Bowling Green’s refugee community about the virus and its effects.

Leyda Becker, Bowling Green’s international communities liaison, said the city also has resources in multiple languages online at bgky.org/ coronavirus.

Local refugees have also been impacted by business closures spurred by the pandemic. Mbanfu said Trace Die Cast, a top employer for local refugees, has laid off “almost all of our clients.” The employer is filing for unemployment insurance on their behalf, Mbanfu said.

I wonder why a company that makes automotive parts is laying off so many workers?

Mitch McConnell: money is on the way!

A representative from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office said during the meeting that a $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate and headed for House approval on Friday will offer some relief.

More here.

I have a pretty extensive archive on Bowling Green, see here, where there have been many problems involving refugees over the last dozen years.