UPDATED: Union to Congress, unemployed: Take our jobs - The Packer

UPDATED: Union to Congress, unemployed: Take our jobs

06/25/2010 01:48:01 PM
Tom Karst

“The U.S. depends on these farmworkers for food, and AgJobs secures America’s food supply and it is the most practical and equitable solution in addressing growers’ concern about labor shortages and the insecurity that makes farm workers so vulnerable to abuse,” Rodriguez said.

Rob Williams, director of the Florida-based Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, said up to 2.5 million people work in agriculture, about 75% of which were born outside of the U.S. Williams said between half and two-thirds of farmworkers don’t have legal authorization to work in the U.S.

The Take Our Jobs campaign comes on the heels of a strict anti-immigration law in Arizona.

Williams said the campaign may illustrate that unemployed Americans are not interested in farm jobs.

“We need these workers,” he said. “There is no replacement work force for the 1.4 million unauthorized famworkers in the U.S.”

The union said it has sent letters to U.S. lawmakers, asking them to urge unemployed constituents to take the UFW up on its offer.

Michael Rubio, Kern County supervisor, said in the teleconference illegal immigrant workers have essential skills needed to maintain the viability of agriculture in California.

He invited politicians to spend one day in the shoes of an immigrant farmworker.

“They should do that before they categorize these hardworking individuals as the problem of our economy.”

The UFW said it will schedule a news conference in about a month about the reaction to the campaign and how many people have inquired about farm labor.

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