Labor issues ease for Florida produce industry

02/05/2009 12:00:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Ernie Harvill, president of Harvill’s Produce Co., Orlando, said labor this past year has been much easier than in the past.

“There are quite a few people that have been laid off in this area,” he said. “It has been slower all over, but we’re not cutting any of our people yet. We won’t lay people off unless we have to. We’ve never laid people off. Their hours may get cut some but we don’t lay off unless absolutely necessary.”

Northern Florida has ample labor, said Larry Movsovitz, chairman and managing director of Produce Distribution Center LLC, Jacksonville.

“It’s a competitive market,” he said. “I remember when we used to have to push to get enough drivers. Now we have a good market here on labor. It’s easier to get drivers now.”

Retaining quality workers has been much easier for Crews & Garcia Inc., said Louis Garcia III, salesman and buyer.

“The way the economy is now, it’s very easy,” he said. “There’s a lot of people looking for jobs. We have had some people working here for two years now. In past years, every month or so they were in and out. A lot of people don’t have jobs anymore and will take whatever they can get.”


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