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M3D1: CULTURALCLASHES IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

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M3D1: CULTURALCLASHES IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

250 words or more

please read the articles before you answer the questions below

In this discussion, we will examine the plight of “guestworkers” in the U.S. Please answer the following:

  • What are some of the issues Bacon and Palacios highlight in relation to “guest workers” and the communities in which they work?

  • What are some of the ways these issues might be addressed?

  • What part does the growth of the global economy play in the employment of “guest workers”?

  • What are the fundamental issues that impact fair treatment for this population?

ARTICLE 1: BY: PALACIOS

J. WORKPLACE RIGHTS, Vol. 15(1) 27-46, 2010-2011

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS IN

U.S. FARMING: THE EXAMPLE OF FARM

WORKERS FROM TAMAULIPAS*

SIMÓN PEDRO IZCARA PALACIOS

KARLA LORENA ANDRADE RUBIO

Tamaulipas University, Mexico

ABSTRACT

This article examines the working conditions of guest workers from

Tamaulipas in U.S. agriculture, analyzes the participation of foreign temporary

workers in unions, and describes the workplace risks suffered by

these workers. In Tamaulipas, a state situated in the northeast of Mexico

where problems of unemployment and underemployment have increased

because of decreasing job opportunities in the farming sector, rural workers

are eager to migrate to the United States as agricultural guest workers.

However, farm work operates on the bottom rung of the job ladder, and

seasonal guest workers are subject to severe exploitation. Tamaulipas’s

guest workers are isolated on remote farms, they are indentured to a single

employer, they suffer from unsafe working conditions and underpayment, and

they are generally powerless to complain of violations of their rights because

they depend on the good will of their employers for future employment.

*A version of this article, entitled “Guest workers in agriculture: Working conditions of Tamaulipas’

farm workers employed in the United States” was presented at the 17th ISA World Congress of

Sociology, July 11-17 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. This article presents some of the results of Research

Project UAT-07-B-SOC-0114, entitled “Tamaulipas’ rural migrants and the H-2A Guest Worker

Program.”We would also like to thank FOMIX (Fondo Mixto de Fomento a la Investigación Científica

y Tecnológica, CONACYT-Gobierno del estado de Tamaulipas), Project 144275.

27

2011, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.

doi: 10.2190/WR.15.1.c

http://baywood.com

INTRODUCTION

The U.S. H-2A Guest Worker Program, authorized by the Immigration Reform

and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, establishes a means for agricultural employers to

bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States. There are two general

requirements for employers to obtain workers on H-2A visas. First, the employer

must demonstrate that there is an inadequate supply of domestic labor at a specific

time and place. Second, the employer must show that the use of foreign workers

will not create an adverse effect on the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers.

However, many problems with the program exist because of lax oversight and

weak worker protections. The administrative mechanisms for determining if

there are available domestic workers being unworkable (Read, 2006).

H-2A workers come to the United States openly and legally; they are permitted

to work, but they do not enjoy the same protections as legal permanent residents:

they are not eligible for government-funded benefits

1 (Chang, 2009) and are

excluded from the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Protection Act

(Hill, 2008). According to Wasem (2010), temporary legal residents pose a

particular problem “because they are permitted to work and have likely paid

into the system that finances a particular benefit, such as social security or a

tax refund, for which they may not be eligible.” A Mexican worker may receive

U.S. Social Security benefits (Social Security provides cash benefits to retired

and disabled workers) outside the United States if he worked in a Social

Security-covered job for a specific period of time: a minimum of 10 years

(Nuschler & Siskin, 2005). However, foreign agricultural workers temporarily

admitted into the United States on H-2A visas do not work in Social Securitycovered

employment.

Their legal status does not guarantee fair treatment, because there is an

imbalance of power between workers and employers. Nonimmigrants on temporary

visas are bound to the employers who “import” them, and they have

no ability to change jobs if they are mistreated. They are dependent on their

employers for their ability to stay in the country and their opportunity to obtain

a visa in the following year; as a result, they are too vulnerable to ask for better

wages or working conditions. If the work situation is abusive or not what was

promised, the worker has little or no recourse other than to go home. As Read

(2006) pointed out, the central flaw from a workers’ rights point of view is that

employers control the right of guest workers to lawfully enter the country.

In Tamaulipas, a state situated in the northeast of Mexico, the H-2A Temporary

Visa Program constitutes an important means of support for the rural

economy. This program constitutes the most appealing way to migrate to the

United States. Unauthorized workers have to pay up to $3,000 to cross the border,

28 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

1

Guest workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but this is a state-by-state

scheme, with varying rules, and frequently they are deprived of this benefit.

receive lower pay, have to hide from the immigration authorities, and run the

risk of being deported; by contrast, seasonal guest workers are entitled to free

housing, workers’ compensation or equivalent insurance, and travel reimbursements,

and if they last the season they are guaranteed pay for at least three-quarters

of the hours promised by their contracts.

Tamaulipas’s rural workers’ demands are very low: for them, being employed

is enough. Tamaulipas’s proximity to the southeastern part of the United States

(the area that demands the majority of the guest workers involved in the farming

sector) reduces transportation costs. Moreover, the experience of Tamaulipas’s

farm workers in very demanding activities, like orange picking and sugar cane

harvesting, increases their attractiveness. As a result, Tamaulipas constitutes an

important area for recruiting H-2A workers.

This article examines the working conditions of foreign temporary workers

in U.S. agriculture. First, we explain the methodology of the study. Second, we

analyze the lack of job opportunities in Tamaulipas and the desire of rural workers

to migrate to the Unites States through the H-2A Guest Worker Program. Next,

we examine workplace abuse and violations of wage laws in U.S. farming. After

that we describe workplace risks suffered by Tamaulipas’s H-2A workers and

study the causes of the limited participation of guest workers in unions.

METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY

The research, conducted from March 2007 to October 2008, is based on

in-depth interviews. The interview guide, based on open-ended questions, focused

on farm workers lived experiences as they were represented in thoughts, ideas,

feelings, attitudes, and perceptions. The interviews were tape-recorded and typewritten.

Fifty agricultural workers, who participated one or more times in the

H-2A Guest Worker Program, were interviewed in 30 rural communities forming

part of nine municipalities of Tamaulipas: Abasolo, Guemez, Hidalgo, Jaumave,

Llera, Padilla, San Carlos, Tula, and Victoria (see Table 1).

Information-rich cases were selected nonrandomly, and a snowball sampling

technique was used to generate the sample, as informants were asked to introduce

us to farm workers they knew who could fit into the sampling strategy. In the

center of Tamaulipas (Guemez, Hidalgo, Padilla, Llera, and Victoria), an area

characterized by the strong presence of farm workers with experience in orange

picking, 35 interviews were conducted. Six farm workers were interviewed in

the south-west of Tamaulipas (Jaumave and Tula), the poorest area of this state.

Finally, six farm laborers were interviewed in the north-east (Abasolo) and

three were interviewed in the northwest (San Carlos), an area that has suffered

a process of depopulation as a result of migration prompted by the lack of

profitability of traditional crops: corn, beans and sorghum. On the other hand,

because less than 3% of Tamaulipas’s farm workers employed with H-2A visas

are women, the sample included only male workers.

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 29

30 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

Table 1. Interviews Quoted in the Text

Aberlardo

Ambrosio

Arturo

Aurelio

Basilio

Bruno

Carlos

David

Eduardo

Felipe

Gustavo

Hilario

Ignacio

Jaime

Lorenzo

39-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula, Tamaulipas),

who worked in North Carolina in 1992 and 1993.

34-year-old H-2A worker from Servando Canales (Guémez,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Ohio in 2006 and in Washington

State in 2008.

32-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Virginia in 2002.

38-year-old H-2A worker from Miraflores (Guémez, Tamaulipas)

who worked in Missouri and Alabama in 2007 and 2008.

38-year-old H-2A worker from Guillermo Zúñiga (Hidalgo, Tamaulipas),

who worked in North Carolina and Tennessee from 1996 to 2008.

46-year-old H-2A worker from Emiliano Zapata (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1991 to 2006.

24-year-old worker from Abasolo (Tamaulipas), who worked in

Illinois in 2004.

38-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 2003 to 2007.

35-year-old H-2A worker from Guillermo Zúñiga (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1999 to 2008.

28-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Illinois from 2005 to 2007.

40-year-old H-2A worker from Nuevo Dolores (Abasolo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Texas in 2000.

40-year-old H-2A worker from Guadalupe Victoria (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas from 2000 to 2008.

28-year-old H-2A worker from La Soledad (Padilla, Tamaulipas),

who worked in North Carolina in 2007.

46-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1995 to 2005.

39-year-old H-2A worker from Alfonso Terrones Benítez (Tula,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998 to 2007.

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 31

Table 1. (Cont’d.)

Lucio

Manuel

Mariano

Natalio

Nicanor

Oliver

Orencio

Pascual

Prudencio

Rafael

Ricardo

Roberto

Santiago

37-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Ana (Victoria, Tamaulipas),

who worked in Florida from 2004 to 2008.

33-year-old H-2A worker from Vicente Guerrero (Victoria,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Virginia from 2000 to 2008.

39-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina in 1998.

48-year-old H-2A worker from Servando Canales (Guémez,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Washington in 2008.

53-year-old H-2A worker from Vicente Guerrero (Victoria,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998

to 2006.

27-year-old H-2A worker from Union Morales (San Carlos,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana

from 2002 to 2008.

40-year-old worker from Guadalupe Victoria (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas from 2000 to 2008.

34-year-old H-2A worker from Rancho Nuevo (Victoria,

Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas in 2003.

45-year-old H-2A worker from La Crucita (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1993

to 2008.

38-year-old H-2A worker from Emiliano Zapata (Hidalgo,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998

to 2008.

42-year-old H-2A worker from El Olivo (Victoria, Tamaulipas),

who worked in Washington in 2007.

30-year-old H-2A worker from Caballeros (Victoria, Tamaulipas),

who worked in Georgia in 2006.

42-year-old H-2A worker from San Lorencito (Jaumave,

Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 2001

to 2007.

a

Names used in this article are pseudonyms.

The farm workers interviewed were employed principally in North Carolina,

Texas, Washington State, Florida, Virginia, and Georgia, in activities like tobacco,

orange, and apple picking and Christmas tree cultivation.

We collected the data in Mexico because in the United States, guest workers

could not speak freely. In 2006, we conducted participant observations of Mexican

guest workers employed in South Florida’s orange sector; however, during our

visit we were not allowed to record interviews, and the farm workers, who

lived in isolated labor camps, were reluctant to speak out. We realized that the

guest workers had traveled to Florida to earn money for their families and

they were not about to jeopardize their jobs by speaking up. By contrast, in their

home towns, interviewees spoke more openly, with less defensiveness or fear

of reprisals. When farm workers come back home they talk to friends and relatives

about their experience, but they tend to overlook negative memories. By

emphasizing their success, they expect to receive admiration and acknowledgment

from their acquaintances. In the United States those who speak out can be sent

back home; likewise, if they speak up about mistreatment and abuse to friends and

relatives, they may lose the image of winners that they try to preserve. However,

when we interviewed them in their communities, interviewees were willing to

tell their stories to strangers. In a place far from the United States, and away

from the presence of their friends and relatives, interviewees lost their fear of

having their words come back to haunt them. Therefore, after showing them our

credentials and briefly explaining the purpose of our study, we were able to

create an environment of narrative-rich communication. We used storytelling as a

method of discovery, and as time went on, interviewees became more interested

in talking to us. In many cases, after we had finished recording the interviews,

the conversation continued for a long time.

THE EMIGRATION OF TAMAULIPAS’S FARM

WORKERS TO THE UNITED STATES

In Mexico, the negative effect of agricultural liberalization on the prices of

basic crops has prompted rural outmigration (Boucher et al., 2007; Mendoza

Cota, 2006). Accordingly, the Survey on Migration in the Northern Frontier

of Mexico (EMIF) shows an increase in rural migration to the United States

from 1998 onward as a result of the crisis in the Mexican farming sector (Izcara

Palacios, 2009b). As a consequence, rural economies in Mexico are becoming

more dependent on remittances from workers who are employed in the United

States (Cordero Díaz, 2007).

In rural areas of Tamaulipas, problems of unemployment and underemployment

have increased from the 1990s onward because job opportunities in the

farming sector have decreased (García Salazar & Omaña Silvestre, 2001). As

a result, both landless farm workers (Izcara Palacios & Andrade Rubio, 2007: 70)

and peasants (Camargo López y Espericueta Reyna, 2006) have migrated in

32 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

search of better economic opportunities. Landless farm workers are the poorest

residents of the rural areas of Tamaulipas because of problems of unemployment.

They do not have anything except their hands, and usually they do not own the

house were they live; therefore, when they are unemployed they suffer from

poverty. Peasants, or

ejidatarios, are also poor people; however, they own the

house were they live and also a small parcel of land. Generally the income from

their parcel of land is not enough for them to make a living, and as a result many

of them also have to work for others as farm workers; however, they are never

unemployed because there is always work to do on their own parcel of land.

As was pointed out by one interviewee, Lorenzo, “Here one works very little;

you do not have a permanent job; sometimes you work, and sometimes you don’t.

Since 1990, most rural municipalities in Tamaulipas have lost between 2%

and 5% of their population each year as a result of outmigration (Izcara Palacios,

2009a). According to interviewees, rural areas of Tamaulipas are being depopulated

as a result of international migration. Rafael pointed out that “people

continue migrating; here, almost everybody goes to work there.” Manuel

expressed the same opinion: “Here almost every man goes to work there.

Gustavo complained about international migration resulting from the declining

profitability of agriculture and blamed this on the scarce support farmers

received from the government. Oliver described in this way the desolation

suffered by Tamaulipas’s rural areas: “There are seasons when there are no

men here in the ejido [meaning a village in which the land is owned communally;

in this case, Union Morales, San Carlos]; there are only children; here, when

they grow up they see the way to look for employment in other places, and most

of them go to the other side [the United States] to work.” Likewise, Ambrosio

concluded, “Only children and women stay here.

Given the disparity in wage rates between the United States and Mexico,

Tamaulipas’s workers, who are desperate for employment, rarely complain about

wages. Oliver remarked, “For me everything is all right; I only want a job.

Similarly, Lucio explained that “for me having employment is enough, because

you go safely and you have a job; we only have to work hard.” The H-2A program

offers to U.S. employers a never-ending stream of grateful, hardworking workers

who will not complain about violations of their rights. However, guest workers’

ignorance of their labor rights makes them more vulnerable to workplace abuse.

As Natalio emphasized, “Although you receive a contract, you can not read

it because you do not understand it. Only they understand it.

Tamaulipas’s farm workers are eager to participate in the H-2A program. As

Carlos, a farm worker who worked once in Illinois, commented, “We all have

the dream of returning to work there.” Becoming a guest worker is defined as

“one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my life” (David). However,

working in the United States is not pleasant; guest workers do dangerous and

exhausting work, are isolated on remote farms, and work long hours for low

wages. According to Hill (2008), guest workers’ working conditions are close to

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 33

slavery. However, they have no choice; if they want to buy a house or a car, or

pay for the education of their children, they have to work in the United States.

Because of the stresses they face, a few days before leaving for the United States

some workers experience anxiety and a strong desire to stay in Tamaulipas. As

Orencio, a guest worker who had traveled to Arkansas nine times, commented,

“When there is only a day left . . . a few hours before leaving, I am trembling, I

become very nervous. For me here [Guadalupe Victoria, Tamaulipas] is very

beautiful, I would like to stay here.

WORKING CONDITIONS OF H-2A FARM WORKERS

IN THE UNITED STATES

The H-2A visa program has been criticized by growers for being too slow,

complicated, costly, and time-consuming and for not meeting their labor needs,

and by farm worker advocates for permitting employers to exploit foreign workers

and providing few protections for U.S. workers (Bruno, 2008; Martin, 1996).

Moreover, opponents of guest worker programs argue that the supply of unskilled

temporary foreign workers during an economic recession will have a deleterious

effect on the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers (Wasem, 2010).

Working conditions in U.S. agriculture are characterized by hard work, low

pay, and long working days (Durand, 2007a, 2007b). H-2A program includes

provisions that make migrant workers more expensive to hire than domestic labor

in order to prevent adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of U.S.

workers (Hill, 2008). However, by allowing growers to import workers from

abroad to perform agricultural work that domestic workers are unable or unwilling

to undertake, H-2A visas constitute a mechanism to recruit submissive, hardworking

laborers and reduce production costs. Guest workers are captive laborers

who are subject to the unilateral demands of employers because the visa program

gives farmers the power to order guest workers to leave the country. H-2A workers

must please their employers in order to remain legally employed in the United

States; as a result, most of the provisions for the protection of foreign workers’

wage rates and working conditions have been ignored, and previously existing

low wage levels have been reduced (Briggs, 2004; Trigueros, 2008).

Employers are particularly stringent with guest workers because the visa

program gives U.S. growers complete discretion over where and how to recruit

workers (Izcara Palacios, 2010c). In order to maximize their profits, employers

select only the best workers (those who work hardest and do not speak out).

To find workers able to work 10 or more hours per day in tough working

environments is not an easy task. Many workers go to the United States, but are

not called back the next season. In some cases it is because they have caused some

trouble; however, generally it is because they did not meet the productivity

standards required. Prudencio, who was foreman on a farm in North Carolina,

pointed out that “only half of those who go are recalled.

34 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

Employers make a “black list” that contains the names of those who will not

return the next season, and a “white list” that contains the names of the workers

who will be recalled (Izcara Palacios, 2010a: 255). Nobody knows for sure if

he will be included in the “white list.” As Jaime explained, “You are not sure;

everything is like this. You have the hope of being recalled; if not, you are

ruined.” During the days previous to the announcement of the names of those

on the “white list” Tamaulipas’s farm workers become very anxious. As Hilario

remarked, “Now there is a lot of competitiveness.” Normally, those who have

participated for two or more years in the program are rehired; however, as they get

older they are replaced by younger and more efficient employees. The requirements

for employing illegal workers are lower because employers are free from

the contractual requirements of the H-2A program; however, in the case of

guest workers, who are more expensive, employers recruit only young, obedient,

experienced, and hardworking people. As was pointed out by Arturo,

When you are 45 they don’t want you. They want young people, like 42

or younger. . . . If you are there, and you are illegal [

mojado] they don’t care

as long as you work hard. However, those who are recruited legally in

Mexico must be young; that is a condition.

As a result, Nicanor, a 53-year-old farm worker who was employed for nine

years in North Carolina, was fearful of not being employed any longer because

of his age:

I think that they are not going to speak to me . . . local contractors say that

employers only want workers 40 years old or younger, they don’t want

older people.

H-2A workers are expected to work 10 or more hours per day, six or seven days

per week. Some of the interviewees complained about being forced to work to

the limits of human endurance. Basilio, who had participated in the program

for the last 13 years, said: “I am working 14 or 15 hours per day, from Monday

to Saturday.” Farm workers usually work from Monday to Saturday; however,

occasionally they also work on Sundays. Ambrosio, who was employed in

Washington, pointed out: “Sometimes we worked everyday; for example, we

worked Saturdays and Sundays, 15 days in a row.” Therefore, when interviewees

compared working conditions in the United States and in Tamaulipas,

they always concluded that in the United States they had to work much harder.

As Ignacio pointed out, “There [in the United States] you cannot work slowly

like here [in Tamaulipas]; there you have to work very quickly, you have to

work many hours, and they want you to work very rapidly.” However, the

workers did not think that this was unfair. Wages in the United States were

much higher than in Tamaulipas; in one day in the United States they could

earn more than in a week at home, and because of this they thought they had

to work much harder in the United States than in Mexico.

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 35

Workers from Tamaulipas do not complain about long working days; on

the contrary, they usually look for doing overtime work to do. H-2A workers

obtain most of their annual earnings from their work in the United States;

therefore, they try to work as much as possible during the period they spend

there (usually from two to six months per year).

The principal requirement for the employer to obtain workers on H-2A visas

is that the employer must show that the use of foreign workers will not create

an adverse effect on the wages or working conditions of similarly employed

U.S. workers. Accordingly, employers must offer the same benefits and job

requirements to both local and foreign workers. H-2A workers are covered by

wage laws, and employers must provide them with an earnings statement detailing

their total earnings and the hours actually worked. However, in the United States,

employers of low-wage workers in industries in which immigrants are overrepresented,

like farming, are frequent violators of wage and hour laws (Smith

& Ruckelshaus, 2007).

Farmers participating in the H-2A program are required to comply with all

federal and state labor-related laws; but there is a contrast between law and

practice because guest workers are too vulnerable to demand compliance with the

law and there is no effective grievance system to enforce the terms of their work

contracts. The problem is that the Department of Labor (DOL) is unwilling to

protect the rights of guest workers (Izcara Palacios, 2010b; Pastor & Alva, 2004;

Smith-Nonini, 2002). H-2A workers are routinely cheated out of wages, they are

paid lower wages than U.S. workers, they are forced to work overtime without

pay, and they receive phony earnings statements. Roberto, who worked on a farm

in Georgia, reported that he was cheated of his pay by an unorthodox accounting

system (he had to work 10 hours per day to compute seven hours in his employer’s

earnings statement). Growers are obliged to pay employees a wage equal to or

higher than the AEWR (Adverse Effect Wage Rate) for the state in which the

work is being done. The average hourly wage rate for field and livestock workers

in a region is published by the United States Department of Agriculture based

on its quarterly wage survey (Whittaker, 2005). However, in order to reduce wage

costs, wage statements usually do not register all the time worked. Usually, the

employer sets a production standard, paying for a certain number of hours that

are invariably fewer than the hours actually required to do the work, as a means

of shortchanging employees while pretending to comply with the law. Pascual

pointed out: “They tell you that you will be paid by the hour; but you are paid

by the piece. They tell you a limit (how many boxes you have to fill), and if

you do not pass that limit you do not return the next year.

The AEWR system allows for manipulation by employers who pay by piece

rate (Smith & Ruckelshaus, 2007). Although the H-2A program prohibits

employers from imposing productivity requirements, it has been documented

that the Department of Labor has approved, as satisfying the AEWR, applications

that required workers to harvest a certain amount of a particular crop according to

36 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

a piece rate (Guernsey, 2007: 295). Under the H-2A program, the employer must

pay the prevailing hourly or piece rate, which must at least equal the AEWR;

however, paying a piece rate usually results in the lowering of wage rates

(Read, 2006). In this connection, Guernsey (2007) has underlined that the

failure of the DOL to develop an accurate methodology to convert hourly rates

into piece rates has adversely affected farm workers’ earnings. For example,

in January 2008, Zirkle Fruit (a fruit company based in Washington State)

was sued by nine former H-2A workers who had been fired for not meeting

productivity standards. The case of Zirkle Fruits exemplifies how an inaccurate

methodology to convert hourly rates into piece rates affects worker’s earnings.

In Washington State average hourly wage rate for farm workers increased

7.8% in 2007; however, Zirkle Fruits changed the methodology to convert

hourly rates into piece rates; and as a result this company in 2007 paid wages

only 0.2% higher than in 2006.

2 By attaching wages to productivity standards,

growers reduce their production costs. As a result, U.S. growers are displacing

U.S. employees and hiring H-2A workers. For example, in Arizona in March

2008 15 former U.S. employees, who were displaced by H-2A workers, sued

Tanimura & Antle (a fresh vegetable company that farms over 30,000 acres)

for not being recalled to work. Also, the United Farm Workers union (UFW)

filed a complaint on behalf of the 15 workers with the Department of Labor

(“H-2A, H-2B,” 2008).

Domestic labor cannot compete with guest workers. The latter are carefully

recruited, and only the best and brawniest of foreign workers are selected.

In the farming sector, “minimum wages” are becoming “maximum wages”

and if local workers do not meet the productivity standards that are met by

foreign workers, they are not eligible for the jobs offered. By offering low

wages and abnormal working conditions, growers discourage local workers

from applying for these jobs (Guernsey, 2007). Smith and Ruckelshaus (2007:

597) pointed out that in areas where H-2A workers are employed, employers

“require superhuman quantity and quality standards in order for workers

to be considered qualified for jobs.” As Laufer (2006: 245) explained about

Joe Elliot, a Kentucky farmer that Laufer describes as a grower who works

by the rules, he no longer employed U.S. workers because they did not

want to work the necessary hours per week to complete the harvest; instead he

employed H-2A workers.

One of our interviewees blamed guest workers for being too submissive and

accustoming employers to high productivity standards. According to Rafael,

Mexicans, who are eager to please their U.S. employers, work much harder than

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 37

2

In 2006, Zirkle Fruit paid workers 1.99 times the AEWR for a piece of work (a bin

of apples). However, in 2007 the rate was reduced to 1.84 times the AEWR for a piece of

work. This is because in the year 2007, the AEWR in Washington increased by 7.8%; as a

result, Zirkle Fruit increased its productivity standards by 7.6%.

they do in their hometowns. However, employers, who see them working very

hard, think it is normal for them to work so hard, and do not tolerate those who

work more slowly:

What happens is that Americans get used to Mexicans’ way of working;

we have to blame ourselves because we work very hard. . . . One accustoms

the employer to this, and sometimes when one cannot work so hard, the

boss gets upset.

WORKPLACE RISKS

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States

(Hansen & Donohoe, 2003; Smith-Nonini, 2002). This sector employs less than

3% of the nation’s workforce, but suffers 14% of work-related deaths (Martinez,

2003). Limited access of farm workers to health services (Kandel, 2008; Poss

& Pierce, 2003) increases health problems among these workers (Ward & Atav,

2004). According to Feldman and colleagues (2009, p. 101), “farm workers

are likely to ignore problems that do not affect their work”; as a result, they

visit health centers only when problems are advanced and treatment is more

complicated (Ward & Atav, 2004). H-2A workers’ health problems are especially

severe because they are employed in the riskiest activities (GAO, 1988; Quandt

et al., 2006).

Guest workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which

provides compensation and medical care for employees who are injured in the

course of employment, and proof of insurance coverage must be provided to

the National Processing Center before certification is granted to the employer

(Kandel, 2008; Ward & Atav 2004; Wasem, 2007); also employers should

provide workers with transportation to enable them to receive needed health care

(Feldman et al., 2009, p. 99). However, many injured guest workers are not able to

obtain benefits because workers’ compensation is a state-by-state scheme, with

varying rules. Accordingly, many of our interviewees got no information on

what to do in case of workplace injuries, and they complained that they did

not receive medical care or compensation for lost income. Moreover, some

farm workers pointed out that employers forced them to sign resignations after

becoming sick. This is because employers have the power to fire guest workers

and deport them with impunity (Chang, 2009).

Interviewees complained about employers’ lack of concern for their employees’

safety. Mariano explained, “When you cut yourself you have to continue working;

employers do not care. If you stop working because you do not feel all right,

they do not pay you.” Farm workers are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Interviewees pointed out that they worked “free,” meaning without any protection,

in dangerous environments. Bruno, who had been employed for 16 years

in North Carolina, said, “They did not give us any protection, we were at free

38 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

hands [andábamos a manos libres]

3; the chemicals were very strong and we

had to work when the plants were sprayed.” Eduardo repeated the same complaint:

“They did not give us any protection. . . . We didn’t use any protection.

Frequently, farm laborers work beside machines that douse the crops with

chemicals. As Arturo pointed out, “After finishing the day the clothes were

filled with rubber, it stank because of the chemicals.

As a result of working in toxic environments, many farm workers become sick.

However, they cannot afford to take time off from work to seek medical care.

When farm workers suffer an accident or fall sick employers usually expect them

to continue working. If guest workers take time off to rest, they run the risk of

being dismissed and returned home. Aurelio described his experience:

Once I was ill; but, I had to cure myself because I was told, “You came here to

work, otherwise I have to speak to the boss; so you decide whether to make the

complaint.” So I was scared, and I said no, it is nothing, I am getting better.

Tamaulipas’s farm workers usually do not stop working even when they are

injured. As was pointed out by Mariano, “Mexican workers do not get sick there

[in the United States]; if you get sick, you have flu, you continue like that.” Also,

they are denied medical benefits for on-the-job injuries. Ricardo explained that

when he visited a doctor he had to pay for medical care and he did not receive any

compensation for lost income:

I was for a week in pain; sometimes I couldn’t sleep. . . . The contract said that

we had the right to a doctor and everything. In that case I was angry with

the foreman, and I went to see the boss, and I spoke to him, and he told me

that he was going to take me to the doctor but the expenses were going to

be deducted from my salary.

Working with tobacco, a sector in which H-2A workers have been disproportionately

employed, is one of the riskiest activities. Most of Tamaulipas’s guest

workers employed in tobacco fields reported green tobacco sickness (GTS)

or acute nicotine poisoning. GTS occurs when wet tobacco leaves come into

contact with the skin; this is not a life-threatening sickness but causes headaches,

dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, and the possible long-term consequences are

unknown (Rao, Quandt, & Arcury, 2002). Basilio, who had been working in

North Carolina tobacco fields since 1996, said, “Today I cannot stand the

tobacco smell. I have it impregnated inside of me. I cannot stand it if somebody

is smoking because I feel as if my nose is burning.

In the opinion of Tamaulipas’s workers, GTS is caused by the chemicals that

are applied to the plants, deficient nutrition, and high temperatures; no one among

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 39

3

“Andábamos a manos libres” is an expression used by farm workers that does not makes

sense in formal Spanish language. In the context of the interview it means: “we did not have

anything to protect ourselves against the agrochemicals sprayed in front of us.

those interviewed knew that the problem was the chemicals produced by the

plants themselves. The explanations the workers gave of GTS included the

following: “When you do not eat well you feel dizziness and headache” (Ignacio);

“After midday things get nasty; it is when you feel because of this you have to

eat well” (Rafael); “We are told to eat well and to wash our hands after spraying

chemicals” (Lorenzo); “If you do not eat well and the sun is strong you feel dizzy”

(Hilario). Guest workers confuse the effect of GTS (lack of appetite) with its

cause. Thus, a mistaken understanding of the etiology of GTS etiology increases

the risk of suffering this sickness. Some workers who are especially susceptible

to GTS choose to return home; however, many farm workers from Tamaulipas

suffer from GTS in silence because they are afraid of losing their jobs or not

being eligible to return to their jobs in the following year.

GUEST WORKERS’ PARTICIPATION IN UNIONS

Immigrant rights activists have opposed the H-2A program because of the

reduced legal protections of guest workers and unfair competition with domestic

workers’ incomes (Pastor & Alva, 2004). Labor-union activists have argued that

the importation of guest workers drives down the wages and lowers the workplace

standards of local workers (Chang, 2009). Unions have seen guest workers as

unorganizable workers, and have argued that labor shortages in agriculture should

be addressed by improving wages and working conditions to attract workers

already in the United States rather than importing others (Hill, 2008). However,

in recent years the view among agricultural workers’ unions that guest workers

are impossible to organize has changed (Hill, 2008). Unions have turned their

efforts to representing H-2A workers because by contrast to local workers,

who are dispersed geographically and difficult to reach, guest workers are

brought to the United States in large numbers through growers’ associations

like the North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) or farm-labor contractors

like Global Horizons (GH), which makes guest workers’ labor situation more

analogous to that of workers in large centralized plants (Guernsey, 2007).

In September 2004, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) won an

agreement to represent the 8,500 guest workers employed by the NCGA, and in

April 2006, the United Farm Workers (UFW) reached an agreement with GH,

which employed one to three thousand guest workers in up to a dozen states

(Hill, 2008). Under these agreements some H-2A workers are covered by union

contracts, and in some places wage payments are above the pay required under the

H-2A program (Smith & Ruckelshaus, 2007). However, as Guernsey (2007) has

pointed out, these new partnerships between farm worker unions and labor-supply

organizations could benefit growers at the expense of domestic labor.

In most places, employers have been successful in keeping H-2A workers

out of the reach of unions by intimidation campaigns (Compa, 2006; Smith-

Nonini, 2002). Seemingly, employers threaten undocumented farm workers with

40 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

deportation if they unionize (Guernsey, 2007). As interviewee Rafael pointed

out, “Five years ago [in 2003] some people from the unions came; however, the

foreman told us that it was not good for us to get unionized; well, that was our

decision, but he told us not to participate. Therefore nobody joined the union.

According to Compa (2000), H-2A workers have an acute fear of retaliation

and deportation if they exercise the right to organize and bargain collectively.

Lorenzo, who had been employed in North Carolina for the last 10 years,

commented that he did not participate in unions because “one never knows, it

can [adversely] affect or benefit you, who knows? Therefore in order to avoid

problems, it is better like this; as we are, it is O.K.

Agricultural laborers are excluded from the right to organize and bargain

collectively under federal law, although they have some protections under the

laws of about 15 states (Izcara Palacios, 2010c). The National Labor Relations Act

(NLRA), which protects workers from retaliation for forming unions, excludes

agricultural laborers from coverage: that is, if farm workers bargain with their

employers they are not protected by the federal government (Guernsey, 2007).

Accordingly, if H-2A workers try to form or join a union, their employer can

cancel their work contract (Compa, 2000). As a result, most of the interviewees

did not participate in unions. Many of them had a negative opinion about collective

bargaining. As Manuel remarked, “There you only work; you do not have

time to make trouble.” Some of the interviewees thought that they could not

participate in unions because they were temporary workers. Lucio said, “I have

not heard about unions; probably it is because we stay just for a short period.

Several interviewees thought that labor organizing and collective bargaining

were related to factory labor but not to farming. Santiago said, “We just go to

work; we know how that is and what to do; we do not do that [participate in

unions]; those who work in factories or other kind of jobs participate in unions,

but we don’t.” Other interviewees thought that they did not have the same rights

that local workers had; and that as a result their employers would never allow

them to participate in unions. Nicanor pointed out that by contrast with their

home country, where they are free to participate in unions, in the United States,

“If one speaks out [he] only stays for one season in the United States, and in

the next year they do not want him.” Other workers think that participating

in unions is counterproductive because of the membership fees. As Abelardo

pointed out, “The union cuts your check a bit, and with a particular boss you

receive your check complete.” In accordance with this, Guernsey (2007) noted

that the UWF negotiated a 2% pay increase for its H-2A workers; however,

the UWF dues represented 2% of the workers’ pay. In general, Tamaulipas’s

farm workers think that they should not participate in unions because they have

signed a written contract that specifies their rights, and the purpose of coming

to the United States is to work, not to make trouble.

Four of the interviewees had participated in unions. In the nonrandom

sample, the unionized workers who were interviewed were older than those who

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 41

had not participated in unions and had migrated to the United States more

times than the latter; also workers who were engaged in off-farm activities in

Tamaulipas were more inclined to unionize. On the other hand, peasants, the

majority of the H-2A visa migrants were found to hold more negative views about

collective bargaining. By contrast with nonunionized laborers, unionized workers

reported better compliance with labor contracts, earned overtime pay, felt less

stressed about being hired in the future, and had a better knowledge of their

rights. Felipe pointed out, “I do not have any problem with the payments [the

union dues], because the union helps us.” Basilio, who had participated in the

program for 13 years, remarked: “Before, we were like donkeys. Now we have

the union and we have changed the conditions.” Guest workers who are members

of unions have higher self-esteem and are less submissive and less willing to

tolerate exploitative and unsafe working conditions than their nonunion counterparts.

Basilio went to Stokes county (North Carolina) for the first time in April

1996. He remembered that at the beginning he was very shy and quiet, and he

did not complain when he was cheated of his pay. On one occasion, he witnessed

a friend being forced to go back home without receiving any medical care after

falling from a ladder, and on another occasion, he saw an older worker being fired

after breaking his foot. Basilio described his attitudes before and after joining

FLOC; before joining, he was afraid of not being recalled; however, after joining

the union he became fearless. At the time of his interview with us, he was 38

years old and he knew from experience that growers do not accept workers

over a certain age (as he said, “If you are useless [that is, if you are an older

worker] they will send you to hell [

te mandaban a la fregada]”); but he was

not worried, because FLOC backed him up. Now his wage was higher and he

pointed out that working conditions had improved: previously, farm workers

were denied medical coverage if they were injured on the job; however, after

joining FLOC, workers received a medical checkup at the beginning of the

season and there was a doctor in the fields.

CONCLUSION

The H-2A program allows farm workers to remain in the United States until

the completion of their employment contracts with sponsoring employers. After

this time, they must return to their home country hoping to be recalled to work

the following year.

U.S. wages are up to 10 times higher than in Tamaulipas, and earnings from

the migrant workers’ U.S. employment is the main source of income for their

families. As a result, the objective of Tamaulipas’s farm workers is to be

rehired by a U.S. employer. However, being rehired usually depends on being

submissive. Guest workers’ ability to return to the United States in a subsequent

season depends entirely on an employer’s willingness to submit a

request to the U.S. government. As a result, Tamaulipas’s workforce is docile

42 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO

and obedient, and workers rarely complain about any violation of their rights,

because if they complain about abuses, they face deportation, blacklisting or

other retaliation.

Under the existing immigration laws, employers are required to hire qualified

U.S. workers over nonimmigrant temporary visa workers, although temporary

workers are provided with some basic protections. However, government,

enforcement of immigration regulations is almost nonexistent. Many growers are

hiring temporary agricultural workers on H-2A nonimmigrant visas because they

are more vulnerable than American workers to employers’ abuse. Their

nonimmigrant status makes them very vulnerable to exploitation: H-2A workers

cannot switch employers, must return to their home countries as soon as their

jobs end, and have no bargaining power (unless they are unionized) for better

wages and working conditions because they are dependent on the good will of

their employer for future employment under the program. Once a farmer has

employed guest workers, he will refuse to employ local labor because the former

work harder and longer and do not complain about wages. Therefore, the H-2A

program enables employers to circumvent the free market by paying foreign

workers less than minimum wages rather than raising wages in order to attract

U.S. citizens.

Workplace abuse includes contract manipulation to drive down costs, growers’

lack of concern about the welfare of their workers, and intimidation to keep H-2A

workers out of the reach of unions.

With regard to manipulation, the piece rate is a common method of payment in

agriculture, and it allows many workers to earn more than the AEWR. However,

the piece rate system is frequently manipulated by employers. Therefore, in areas

where this system is used, farm workers should be allowed to choose to be paid

either by the prevailing piece rate or by the hourly rate; employers should not be

able to impose one or the other system and should not be permitted to impose

productivity requirements.

With regard to workers’ welfare, it should be noted that work-related injuries

are more frequent in farming than in other activities; however, many guest workers

do not receive medical care and employers show a lack of concern about their

safety. Therefore, the H-2A program should require agricultural employers to

offer free on-site medical services. As can be seen from the example of the workers

employed in tobacco fields, health problems could be reduced if guest workers

were educated in the etiology of work-related injuries and in basic safety practices.

Many workers wait to be treated in Tamaulipas for their injuries or illness because

of fear of retaliation if they ask for medical care in the United States. Therefore,

U.S. employers should be made accountable for the medical expenses that are

incurred by guest workers in their home country but are related to the treatment of

injuries and sickness that are caused by their work in the United States.

Finally, farm workers’ unions should continue representing H-2A workers,

because recent experience shows that unions can effectively enforce contract

GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 43

improvements, and the example of Tamaulipas’s guest workers shows that only

those H-2A workers who participate in unions are able to enforce their rights and

are sure to be paid the promised amount.

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on the Supply of Mexican Labor to U.S. Farms: New Evidence from Mexico.

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Past and Warnings for the Future. Retrieved from http://www.cis.org/Guestworker

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campesina del Barretal Tamaulipas.

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ideals and practice. In J. A. Gross (Ed.),

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un circuito migratorio internacional,

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Tutorial Preview …in xxx TextAberlardoAmbrosioArturoAurelioBasilioBrunoCarlosDavidEduardoFelipeGustavoHilarioIgnacioJaimeLorenzo39-year-old xxxx worker from xxxxxx Blanco (Tula, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx worked xx xxxxx Carolina xx 1992 and xxxx 34-year-old H-2A xxxxxx from xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx (Guémez,Tamaulipas), xxx worked in xxxx in 2006 xxx in xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xx 2008 xxxxxxxxxxx H-2A worker xxxx Santa Engracia xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx who xxxxxx xx Virginia xx 2002 38-year-old xxxx worker from xxxxxxxxxx (Guémez, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx in xxxxxxxx and Alabama xx 2007 and xxxx 38-year-old xxxx xxxxxx from xxxxxxxxx Zúñiga (Hidalgo, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx worked in xxxxx Carolina xxx xxxxxxxxx from xxxx to 2008 xxxxxxxxxxx H-2A worker xxxx Emiliano xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx who xxxxxx in North xxxxxxxx from 1991 xx 2006 xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx from xxxxxxx (Tamaulipas), who xxxxxx inIllinois in xxxx 38-year-old xxxx xxxxxx from xxxxx Engracia (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), xxx worked in xxxxx Carolina xxxx xxxx to xxxx 35-year-old H-2A xxxxxx from Guillermo xxxxxxxx (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), xxx xxxxxx in xxxxx Carolina from xxxx to 2008 xxxxxxxxxxx H-2A xxxxxx xxxx Santa xxxxxxxx (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who xxxxxx in Illinois xxxx 2005 xx xxxx 40-year-old xxxx worker from xxxxx Dolores (Abasolo,Tamaulipas), xxx worked xx xxxxx in xxxx 40-year-old H-2A xxxxxx from Guadalupe xxxxxxxx (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), xxx xxxxxx in xxxxxxxx from 2000 xx 2008 28-year-old xxxx worker xxxx xx Soledad xxxxxxxxx Tamaulipas),who worked xx North Carolina xx 2007 xxxxxxxxxxx xxxx worker xxxx Tanque Blanco xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx who worked xx North xxxxxxxx xxxx 1995 xx 2005 39-year-old xxxx worker from xxxxxxx Terrones xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx who xxxxxx in North xxxxxxxx from 1998 xx 2007 xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx WORKING xxxxxxxxxx / 31Table x (Cont’d )LucioManuelMarianoNatalioNicanorOliverOrencioPascualPrudencioRafaelRicardoRobertoSantiago37-year-old xxxx worker xxxx xxxxx Ana xxxxxxxxxx Tamaulipas),who worked xx Florida from 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xxxxxxxxxxx H-2A xxxxxx from El xxxxx (Victoria, Tamaulipas),who xxxxxx in xxxxxxxxxx xx 2007 xxxxxxxxxxx H-2A worker xxxx Caballeros (Victoria, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx worked xx xxxxxxx in xxxx 42-year-old H-2A xxxxxx from San xxxxxxxxx (Jaumave,Tamaulipas), xxx xxxxxx in xxxxx Carolina from xxxxxx 2007 aNames xxxx in xxxx xxxxxxx are xxxxxxxxxx The farm xxxxxxx interviewed were xxxxxxxx principally xx xxxxx Carolina,Texas, xxxxxxxxxx State, Florida, xxxxxxxxx and Georgia, xx activities xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxx picking and xxxxxxxxx tree cultivation xx collected xxx xxxx in xxxxxx because in xxx United States, xxxxx workerscould xxx xxxxx freely xx 2006, we xxxxxxxxx participant observations xx Mexicanguest xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx in xxxxx Florida’s orange xxxxxxx however, during xxxxxxxx we xxxx xxx allowed xx record interviews, xxx the farm xxxxxxxx wholived xx xxxxxxxx labor xxxxxx were reluctant xx speak out xx realized xxxx xxxxxxxx workers xxx traveled to xxxxxxx to earn xxxxx for xxxxx xxxxxxxx andthey xxxx not about xx jeopardize their xxxx by xxxxxxxx xx By xxxxxxxxx in theirhome xxxxxx interviewees spoke xxxx openly, xxxx xxxx defensiveness xx fearof reprisals xxxx farm workers xxxx back xxxx xxxx talk xx friends and xxxxxxxxxxxxxx their experience, xxx they xxxx xx overlook xxxxxxxx memories Byemphasizing xxxxx success, they xxxxxx to xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx their acquaintances xx the United xxxxxx those xxx xxxxx out xxx be sentback xxxxx likewise, if xxxx speak xx xxxxx mistreatment xxx abuse to xxxxxxx andrelatives, they xxx lose xxx xxxxx of xxxxxxx that they xxx to preserve xxxxxxxxxxxx we xxxxxxxxxxx xxxx in xxxxx communities, interviewees xxxx willing totell xxxxx stories xx xxxxxxxxx In x place far xxxx the United xxxxxxx and xxxxxxxx xxx presence xx their friends xxx relatives, interviewees xxxx their xxxx xxxxxxxx their xxxxx come back xx haunt them xxxxxxxxxx after xxxxxxx xxxx ourcredentials xxx briefly explaining xxx purpose of xxx study, xx xxxx able xxxxxxxx an environment xx narrative-rich communication xx used xxxxxxxxxxxx xx amethod xx discovery, and xx time went xxx interviewees xxxxxx xxxx interestedin xxxxxxx to us xx many cases, xxxxx we xxx xxxxxxxx recording xxx interviews,the conversation xxxxxxxxx for a xxxx time xxx xxxxxxxxxx OF xxxxxxxxxxxxxx FARMWORKERS TO xxx UNITED STATESIn xxxxxxx the xxxxxxxx xxxxxx of xxxxxxxxxxxx liberalization on xxx prices ofbasic xxxxx has xxxxxxxx xxxxx outmigration xxxxxxxx et al x 2007; MendozaCota, xxxxx Accordingly, xxx xxxxxx on xxxxxxxxx in the xxxxxxxx Frontierof Mexico xxxxxx shows xx xxxxxxxx in xxxxx migration to xxx United Statesfrom xxxx onward xx x result xx the crisis xx the Mexican xxxxxxx sector xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx As x consequence, rural xxxxxxxxx in Mexico xxx becomingmore xxxxxxxxx xx remittances xxxx workers who xxx employed in xxx UnitedStates xxxxxxxx xxxxxx 2007) xx rural areas xx Tamaulipas, problems xx unemployment xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx increased xxxx the 1990s xxxxxx because job xxxxxxxxxxxxx in xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx have xxxxxxxxx (García Salazar xxxxx Omaña Silvestre, xxxxx Asa xxxxxxx xxxx landless xxxx workers (Izcara xxxxxxxx & Andrade xxxxxx 2007: xxxxxx xxxxxxxx (Camargo xxxxxx y Espericueta xxxxxx 2006) have xxxxxxxx in32 x xxxxxx PALACIOS xxx ANDRADE RUBIOsearch xx better economic xxxxxxxxxxxxx Landless xxxx xxxxxxx are xxx poorestresidents of xxx rural areas xx Tamaulipas xxxxxxx xx problems xx unemployment They xx not have xxxxxxxx except xxxxx xxxxxx and xxxxxxx they do xxx own thehouse xxxx they xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx when xxxx are unemployed xxxx suffer frompoverty xxxxxxxxx orejidatarios, xxx xxxx poor xxxxxxx however, they xxx thehouse were xxxx live xxx xxxx a xxxxx parcel of xxxx Generally the xxxxxx fromtheir xxxxxx xx land xx not enough xxx them to xxxx a xxxxxxx xxx as x result manyof xxxx also have xx work xxx xxxxxx as xxxx workers; however, xxxx are neverunemployed xxxxxxx there xx xxxxxx work xx do on xxxxx own parcel xx land xx xxx pointed xxx by one xxxxxxxxxxxx Lorenzo, “Here xxx works xxxx xxxxxxxxxx do xxx have a xxxxxxxxx job; sometimes xxx work, xxx xxxxxxxxx you xxxxxxx ”Since 1990, xxxx rural municipalities xx Tamaulipas xxxx xxxx between xxxxx 5% of xxxxx population each xxxx as x xxxxxx of xxxxxxxxxxxx (Izcara Palacios,2009a) xxxxxxxxx to interviewees, xxxxx areas xx xxxxxxxxxx are xxxxx depopulatedas a xxxxxx of international xxxxxxxxx Rafael xxxxxxx xxx that xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx migrating; here, xxxxxx everybody goes xx work xxxxx xxx Manuelexpressed xxx same opinion: xxxxxxx almost every xxx goes xx xxxx there xxxxxxxxxx complained about xxxxxxxxxxxxx migration resulting xxxx the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xx agriculture xxx blamed this xx the scarce xxxxxxx farmersreceived xxxx xxx government xxxxxx described in xxxx way the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx by xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx areas: xxxxxxxx are seasons xxxx there are xxxxx here xx xxx ejido xxxxxxxx a village xx which the xxxx is xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx this xxxxx Union Morales, xxx Carlos]; there xxx only xxxxxxxxx xxxxx whenthey xxxx up they xxx the way xx look xxx xxxxxxxxxx in xxxxx places, and xxxxxx them go xx the xxxxx xxxx [the xxxxxx States] to xxxx ” Likewise, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx “Only xxxxxxxx xxx women xxxx here ”Given xxx disparity in xxxx rates xxxxxxx xxx United xxxxxx and Mexico,Tamaulipas’s xxxxxxxx who are xxxxxxxxx for xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx complain xxxxxxxxxx Oliver remarked, xxxxxx me everything xx all xxxxxx x only xxxx a job xxxxxxxxxxxxx Lucio explained xxxx “for xx xxxxxx employment xx enough, becauseyou xx safely and xxx have x xxxx we xxxx have to xxxx hard ” xxx H-2A xxxxxxxxxxxxx xx U x employers a xxxxxxxxxxxx stream of xxxxxxxxx hardworking xxxxxxxxxx xxxx not xxxxxxxx about violations xx their rights xxxxxxxx guest xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xx their xxxxx rights makes xxxx more vulnerable xx workplace xxxxx xx Natalio xxxxxxxxxxx “Although you xxxxxxx a contract, xxx can xxx xxxxxx because xxx do not xxxxxxxxxx it Only xxxx understand xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx farm xxxxxxx are eager xx participate in xxx H-2A xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx a xxxx worker who xxxxxx once in xxxxxxxxx commented, xxxxx xxx havethe xxxxx of returning xx work there xxx Becoming x xxxxx worker xx defined as“one xx the best xxxxxxxxx I xxxx xxxx taken xx my life” xxxxxxx However,working in xxx United xxxxxx xx not xxxxxxxxx guest workers xx dangerous andexhausting xxxxx are xxxxxxxx xx remote xxxxxx and work xxxx hours for xxxxxxxx According xx xxxx (2008), xxxxx workers’ working xxxxxxxxxx are close xxxxxxx WORKERS’ xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx / xxxxxxxxx However, they xxxx no choice; xx they xxxx xx buy x house or x car, orpay xxx the xxxxxxxxx xx their xxxxxxxxx they have xx work in xxx United xxxxxx xxxxxxx of xxx stresses they xxxxx a few xxxx before xxxxxxx xxx the xxxxxx Statessome workers xxxxxxxxxx anxiety and x strong xxxxxx xx stay xx Tamaulipas AsOrencio, x guest worker xxx had xxxxxxxx xx Arkansas xxxx times, commented,“When xxxxx is only x day xxxx x few xxxxx before leaving, x am trembling, xxxxxxx very xxxxxxx xxx me xxxx [Guadalupe Victoria, xxxxxxxxxxx is verybeautiful, x would xxxx xx stay xxxx ”WORKING CONDITIONS xx H-2A FARM xxxxxxxxx THE xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx H-2A xxxx program has xxxx criticized by xxxxxxx for xxxxx xxx slow,complicated, xxxxxxx and time-consuming xxx for not xxxxxxx their xxxxx xxxxxxxxx by xxxx worker advocates xxx permitting employers xx exploit xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx providing xxx protections for x S workers xxxxxxx 2008; xxxxxxx xxxxx Moreover, xxxxxxxxx of guest xxxxxx programs argue xxxx the xxxxxx xx unskilledtemporary xxxxxxx workers during xx economic recession xxxx have x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on xxx wages and xxxxxxx conditions of x S xxxxxxx xxxxxxx 2010) xxxxxxx conditions in x S agriculture xxx characterized xx xxxx work, xxxxxxx and long xxxxxxx days (Durand, xxxxxx 2007b) xxxx xxxxxxx includesprovisions xxxx make…
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