Labor

Opinion: As Congress refuses to fix immigration and states run amok on enforcement, we need sensible policy that aids 11 million undocumented already here and working

The editors

The New York Times 2011-10-27

Expanding economic and educational opportunities, more democracy, rising border crime, shrinking families help slow illegal immigration from Mexico to U.S. to trickle

By Damien Cave

The New York Times 2011-07-06

Opinion: Immigrant purge will leave onions, peaches to rot in fields; states' attempts to engineer expulsion of 11m undocumented is lunacy and DOJ needs to work harder

The editors

The New York Times 2011-07-04

Arizona may revoke business licenses of firms that knowingly hire illegals, Supreme Court affirms; law requires use of federal E-Verify to determine authorization to work

By Robert Barnes

The Washington Post 2011-05-26

Children of migrant farmworkers struggle to keep up in school as parents follow the lettuce and produce season from Salinas Valley to Yuma, AZ, November to April

By Patricia Leigh Brown

The New York Times 2011-03-12

Republicans call for return to large-scale workplace immigration raids like those at meatpacking plants; critics say such sweeps cost upward of $10 million and are needlessly traumatic

By Brian Bennett

Los Angeles Times 2011-01-26

Despite our stated aim to stop illegal immigration, our inconsistent laws, policies and attitudes say otherwise, so farmers get cheap labor, illegals get jobs, shoppers get low food prices

By Chris Collins

The Fresno Bee 2010-11-14

After years of winks at employees working off books or with false documents, immigration enforcement sends fear through $550-billion restaurant industry; employers feel forced into detective role

By Sarah Kershaw

The New York Times 2010-09-07

Without labor of illegal immigrants, food in US would cost "three, four, or five times more," which is why we need comprehensive immigration reform, says USDA head

By Roger Simon

Politico 2010-08-25

Citing seasonal nature of work and perishable crops, California governor sides with farmers and vetoes farmworkers overtime bill

By Marisa Lagos

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-07-29

Opinion: Union's sly want-ad for dirty, hard work at low pay focuses on immigration reform and effort to legalize undocumented farm laborers, meatpackers, poultry pluckers

The editors

The New York Times 2010-07-16

Child labor - picking strawberries at ages 7, 8 in Florida, blueberries at age 7 in Michigan, picking peas in Virginia at age 8 - though often legal, draws scrutiny

Human Rights Watch 2010-05-05

Immigration advocates question visa denial to couple who have paid all their taxes, own their restaurant and a rental house and have only mortgage

By Katharine Q. Seelye

The New York Times 2010-05-28

Idaho agriculture contingent - fruit growers, wine makers, and dairy producers - urge lawmakers to reform immigration, guest worker program to ensure steady flow of farm labor

By Brad Iverson-Long

Idaho Reporter 2010-05-01

Wages, benefits lag for restaurant workers, survey of 2,500 workers and 150 employers in five cities shows

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-02-11

Meatpacking plants, where work is dangerous, lure ever-changing immigrants - lately from Latino to Somali to Cuban

By Kate Linthicum

Los Angeles Times 2010-01-28

Flu bill would grant 5 paid sick days to lunch ladies, waiters

In effort to slow spread of swine flu, new legislation would guarantee five paid sick days for workers with contagious illness who are sent home by their employers. School cafeteria workers, restaurant employees, others in contact with public and without paid sick leave (click 'See also') otherwise would go to work with H1N1 and spread virus, says bill's sponsor. 39 percent of private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days, while among the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, 63 percent do not. Bill would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees.

By Steven Greenhouse

The New York Times 2009-11-03

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Opinion: Bigger - not boutique - farms often better deal for workers

For workers, big farms are far more appealing than mom-and-pop operations - they are more likely to provide full-time jobs with better benefits, offer longer gigs, and working conditions are more regimented. Larger enterprises also hire more of their work force directly, rather than through farm labor contractors. Smaller growers have smaller economies of scale with smaller budget; keeping prices competitive means finding creative ways to keep costs low. Farmers may not be able to control price of land, seeds, and equipment, but they can squeeze what they pay for labor.

By Tracie McMillan

Slate 2009-11-02

Compass Group to pay more for tomatoes; subsidiary's workers lose hours

Compass Group, which buys 10 million pounds of tomatoes annually and operates 10,000 cafeterias, agrees with Florida's Coalition of Immokalee Workers to buy winter tomatoes only from growers that pay fair wage, offer good working conditions. And: After Chartwells, a Compass Group subsidiary, takes over Connecticut school food service from Sodexho, some workers say their hours were curtailed; one says cutback made her ineligible for insurance (click 'See also'). Others say they lost paid sick leave, holiday leave, were transferred with little notice and had problems receiving paychecks.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-09-25

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California resumes review of chemical for strawberry fields

California pesticide regulators resume review of methyl iodide for strawberry fields. Carcinogen OK'd for use in every state except California, Washington, New York. Federal law requires growers to set up buffer zones, prohibits workers from entering field for 48 hours after methyl iodide is applied, but critics worry about safety of those living or working near the plots. And: In Mississippi's delta, Roundup drift, from crop-dust pilots or ground-level applicators, can damage off-target crops, trees, gardens (click 'See also').

By Amy Littlefield

Los Angeles Times 2009-08-03

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Opinion: Factory safety lapses - fatal or not - no joking matter

Instead of pointless puns in bad taste, those writing about death of 29-year-old temporary worker in New Jersey chocolate factory (click 'See also') should have used their influence to highlight risks of injury in food factories and how they can be minimized. Helping to prevent even just one fatality would be magnificent achievement. Fifty-one deaths in food manufacturing were reported last year.

By Mike Stones

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-07-13

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After labor dispute, Stella D'oro cookie factory will move

After labor dispute, Stella D'oro cookie factory will move

Stella D'oro will close Bronx factory and move production elsewhere, owners say after federal judge orders reinstatement of 134 workers on strike for 10 months. And: shutdown notice threw a gut-punch into labor-management tussle that evoked bygone era, when New York City was a hub of manufacturing and laborers had strong hand to play in collective bargaining (click 'See also').

By Peter Milosheff

The Bronx Times 2009-07-07

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Three die in ConAgra Slim Jim plant explosion

Three die, 38 injured, four critically, in explosion at North Carolina ConAgra Slim Jim factory. 300 of the 900 employed were in plant when blast occurred. And: There was no evacuation plan at Savannah-area Imperial Sugar refinery when it blew up last year, killing 14 and injuring scores, witness testifies, nor was there a working fire alarm (click 'See also').

From staff and wire reports

The News & Observer (NC) 2009-06-10

See also 

Farm worker rule suspended for much of growing season

Labor Department suspends for nine months last-minute Bush administration rule that had changed calculation method for farm workers, eased oversight of efforts to recruit U.S. workers first. Democrats, farm worker advocates had argued against rule, which they said led to lower wages for farm employees and didn't protect American laborers (click 'See also').

By Sara Murray

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-05-30

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In Florida tomato fields, sustainability and social justice

Executives of food service company threaten Florida tomato growers with boycott unless wages, working conditions improve for pickers. But Bon Appetit buys only 5 million pounds of tomatoes - McDonald's buys about 20 million pounds a year and Subway buys even more. Workers' advocates worry that boycott could hurt farm laborers, who would lose their daily wage; one critic wonders about 'grandstanding.' And: In tomato capital of nation, modern-day slavery (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-04-29

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Agricultural chemicals exposure linked to Parkinson's disease

People who lived next to fields where fungicide maneb or herbicide paraquat had been sprayed were, on average, about 75 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's, California study shows. And: Maneb often goes on potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and corn; paraquat is used on corn, soybeans, fruit (click 'See also'). Map of their use mirrors areas of U.S. where people are more likely to die of Parkinson's disease.

Chicago Tribune 2009-04-20

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After tuna sandwich tussle, fired worker fights for benefits

Fired for misconduct after setting aside one of 30 tuna sandwiches destined for trash at Whole Foods, former deli clerk fights for unemployment benefits - and wins. Legal services worker says they're seeing uptick in similar cases; nationally, in 66 percent of cases, employees win. In New York, as in other states, employers' unemployment insurance rates based on amount of benefits their former workers collect.

By Jennifer 8. Lee

The New York Times 2009-03-16

Feds probe labor practices at turkey processor

Investigators probe practices of Iowa meat processor after evacuating disabled workers from 'deplorable' town-owned living quarters. Since late 1970s, Henry's Turkey Service has shipped mentally impaired men from Texas to Iowa to pull guts, pluck feathers at turkey processing plant. Company acted as employer, landlord, caregiver, leaving men with as little as $65 per month in salary. All of them expected to lose their jobs in the next few weeks.

By Clark Kauffman

The Des Moines Register 2009-02-08

Opinion: Stability, dignity at confluence of labor, immigration

Obama's nominees for homeland security, labor and commerce posts are on right track to reverse Bush administration's immigration tactics, which attacked problem upside down, backward. Two share well-informed disdain for foolish, inadequate schemes like the border fence; the third is staunch defender of immigrants and workers, like those found working at hellish slaughterhouse in Iowa (for update click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-12-26

See also 

Workers unionize at N.C. slaughterhouse

World's largest pork slaughterhouse workers vote to unionize after 16 bitter years, two failed elections. Nearly 5,000 workers at Smithfield slaughter up to 32,000 hogs daily at packing plant in Bladen County, N.C. And: Union officials say effort was expensive, but is model for organizing other meat-packing plants (click 'See also').

By Kristin Collins

The News & Observer (NC) 2008-12-11

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Deformed child's parents say they worked fields wet with pesticides

In closely watched case of farm workers against Ag-Mart that began in 2005, parents of deformed baby say they were forced to work in North Carolina tomato fields still wet from pesticides, that pesticides were sprayed while they ate. Company, which sells Santa Sweets and Ugly Ripe tomato brands, also runs farms in Florida, New Jersey, Mexico. And: Company agreed to pay for lifelong care of field worker's limbless child (click 'See also').

By Kristin Collins

The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 2008-09-11

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9,311 child-labor violations at Iowa meatpacker

Kosher slaughterhouse owners face 9,311 child-labor violations; two executives charged with felonies after 400 arrested in May immigration raid at Iowa plant. And: Barack Obama doesn't name meatpacker, but urges crackdown on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers (click 'See also') 'to avoid paying decent wages and providing decent benefits.'

By Tony Leys and Jennifer Jacobs

The Des Moines Register 2008-09-09

See also 

Farm fumes accident kills three, injures three

Three workers die, three injured by fumes at Canadian mushroom farm. Accident may have occurred as workers mixed chemicals into fertilizer they use on mushrooms; employee safety agency begins investigation.

By Marha Lederman and Robert Matas

The Globe and Mail (Canada) 2008-09-06

Opinion: Illegal workers and employer demands

Court papers show that Agriprocessors' human-resources employee helped distribute false green cards to Iowa slaughterhouse workers. In 2006, Swift official was charged with harboring illegals and failing to report crime after meatpacking raid. Companies seem to rely on a mid-level manager to create bogus documents, then claim ignorance.

By Rekha Basu

The Des Moines Register 2008-08-03

Opinion: Bottom-feeding kosher slaughterhouse, immigration disgrace

Iowa slaughterhouse workers treatment is disgrace. Bush administration abandoned mercy and proportionality, devised new, harsher traps for illegal workers. By treating desperate employees as criminal class, government is attempting to inflate illegals' menace to level that justifies its rabid efforts to capture and punish them. And: Immigrants' stories (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-08-01

See also 

Iowa slaughterhouse raid netted under-age workers

Teens found working at kosher slaughterhouse during immigration raid; afterward, they described labor violations that could result in criminal charges, lawyers say. And: Demonstrators expected in Iowa to protest immigrant treatment at Agriprocessors; Jewish groups debate buying their meat, labeled Aaron's Best and Aaron's Choice. (click 'See also').

By Julia Preston

The New York Times 2008-07-27

See also 

Opinion: Terror for undocumented slaughterhouse workers

Aftermath of immigration raid at Iowa kosher meat processing house shows abuse of undocumented immigrants. Slaughterhouse workers were charged as serious criminals and shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles; most sentenced to five months in prison, sending their families deeper into poverty. And: essay from eyewitness (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-07-13

See also 

EPA sets new rules for fumigant pesticide use

New soil fumigant restrictions, including buffer zones and community outreach efforts, set to protect farm workers, bystanders from pesticide exposure. The poison, which is injected or incorporated into soil, is used primarily on potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, carrots and peppers.

EPA 2008-07-10

Iowa slaughterhouse workers sentenced

After nearly 400 workers arrested in Iowa raid at meat-processing plant, many face deportation - some, dissolution of families - after pleading guilty to using fake documents so they could work. Because 697 people were on the complaint, many believe government is still hunting about 300 illegal immigrants. And: At hearing, lawmakers, advocates question why plant owners haven't been charged (click 'See also').

By Nigel Duara and Grant Schulte

The Des Moines Register 2008-05-24

See also 

Tomato pickers' raise

After vigorous resistance, Burger King agrees to pay raise for Florida tomato pickers. The wage increase, 1.5 cents a pound, covers additional taxes and administrative costs and gives the pickers a 71 percent increase, the first substantial one in decades. Florida tomato growers' group had resisted raise.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2008-05-24

Health care for farm workers

Illegal immigrant farm workers may visit clinic or hospital if they are severely ill, but without insurance, much care comes from spiritual healers, home remedies and self-medication. Many Latino immigrants arrive healthy, but then develop US afflictions: diet-related disease, plus injuries from field work. Study shows medical costs of illegal immigrants was half as large as expected for population.

By Kevin Sack

The New York Times 2008-05-10

Online insults from Burger King executive

Burger King executive used daughter's online alias to comment about farm worker group lobbying for penny-a-pound raise for Florida tomato pickers; spokesperson says 'appropriate disciplinary action' will be taken. McDonalds and Yum! Brands, which operates A&W, KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, have agreed to pay raise. Click 'See also' for story on online alter ego of Whole Foods' executive.

By Amy Bennett Williams

The News-Press (FL) 2008-05-06

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Migrants and fruit in fields

As fruit begins to ripen, UK farmers predict that produce could be left to rot, considering shortage of migrant workers. Complaints come amid growing concern that the government's reformed immigration system is stifling businesses. Restaurant workers protest staff shortages; chefs now must speak English and have academic qualifications to work and live in country.

By Paul Lewis

The Guardian (UK) 2008-04-22

Poultry workers deported

Illegal immigrants arrested at Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant in Arkansas will be deported. Other than using fake documentation, U.S. Attorney says the accused are law-abiding and came here to better their lives and those of their families. Arrests were part of sweep at company operations in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

By Jon Gambrell

The Associated Press; Houston Chronicle (TX) 2008-04-21

Tipping the servers

Starbucks owes $105 million to California workers whose tips were illegally shared with shift supervisors, judge rules. Coffee giant plans to appeal. 'Supervisors deserve their fair share of the tips that they receive from the tip jars in our California stores,' says spokesperson.

By Joel Rosenblatt

bloomberg.com 2008-03-21

Smithfield strikes back

Battling unionization, world's largest pork factory sues, alleging that workers in Tar Heel, N.C., who quoted Upton Sinclair's book, 'The Jungle,' issued press releases, contacted civil rights and environmental groups, organized protests and called for boycotts were engaged in Mafia-like racketeering. Others see activities as lobbying, or exercising First Amendment rights, but trial is set for October.

By Adam Liptak

The New York Times 2008-02-05

Pork factory problem

At a Minnesota factory that kills and butchers 19,000 hogs a day, mostly for Hormel, mysterious nerve disorder suddenly appears in a dozen workers routinely spattered with pork brains and inhaling aerosolized brain matter along a disassembly line. Epidemiologist theorizes immune system reaction against tissue similar to that of humans.

By Denise Grady

The New York Times 2008-02-05

Opinion: Dickens-worthy

Burger King, lauded for its animal welfare position on chickens and hogs, refuses to go along with penny a pound pay increase for migrant tomato pickers in South Florida, and suggests that if they want better pay, they should apply to work at restaurants.

By Eric Schlosser

The New York Times 2007-11-29

Back in business

A week after blast blows windows out at a Domino powdered sugar mill near Baltimore and employees work overtime to clean up the mess, bags of granulated and brown sugars are moving off conveyor belts, just in time for holiday baking season.

By Allison Connolly

The Baltimore Sun 2007-11-10

Opinion: Farm workers

As increased immigration raids target agricultural workers (70 percent of which are likely illegals), fruit rots and companies scramble; a better idea, editors say, is AgJOBS bill, which speeds guest-worker processing and grants temporary legal status to undocumented workers here for two years.

The editors

Boston Globe 2007-10-24

Busted:

Immigration officers, with help from sheriff's office, raid 500-employee Koch chicken processing company near Cincinnati and its headquarters in Chicago; many U.S. meat industry workers are immigrants, mainly Hispanics.

By Andrea Hopkins, with additional reporting by Bob Burgdorfer

Reuters 2007-08-28

Growing spirit:

Long the designated caretakers of the poor and disenfranchised, religious communities find their interests growing toward farming and food production for reasons including humane treatment of animals, fair wages to workers and stewardship of the Earth.

By Joan Nathan

The New York Times 2007-08-22

Modified sugar:

Genetically modified sugar beet seed designed to resist Monsanto herbicide is gaining popularity among growers and processors, including American Crystal Sugar Co.; Wyoming Sugar Co., and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; farmers must pay $60 premium per acre, and GMO sugar won't carry special label.

Associated Press; CNN 2007-08-22

Immigration fears:

Growers, now hiring thousands of seasonal workers for peak harvest months, cry foul over crackdown on illegal immigrants, declaring it's an effort of government to look good at the expense of the people with the hardest and lowest paid jobs.

By Juliana Barbassa

Associated Press; Forbes.com 2007-08-16

Opinion: Illegals

Bush administration deserves credit for pushing immigration reform, but enforcement-only plan for handling illegal immigrants could create potentially devastating consequences for farmers at harvest season.

The editors

Denver Post 2007-08-14

Harvest worries:

Bush administration's plan for fines, sanctions against growers whose workers have improper documentation could be devastating to the coming fall harvest, and could encourage an underground economy, California farmers say.

By Ashley Gebb

Appeal-Democrat (CA) 2007-08-14

Farming the future

In unusual and win-win partnership between county and charity, inmates farm to benefit Milawaukee's poor, who eat asparagus, corn, cantaloupe and green beans in season, and hunger relief group runs the operation.

By Erica Perez

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Restaurateur fined:

'Positive' and 'selfless' Sioux Falls restaurateur avoids jail sentence after judge determines he was helping illegal immigrants, not exploiting them, by hiring them to work in his Iowa restaurant, Inca Mexican.

By Josh Verges

Argus Leader (IA)