Georgia Program Replaces Migrant Farm Workers With Ex-Cons

Recent immigration crackdowns in Georgia have left the agricultural sector with a labor shortage. A big one. An unscientific poll puts the gap as high as 11,000 workers, but plants still have to be harvested. The governor responded to farmers’ complaints with a new program that puts people on probation to work in the fields at minimum wage, with bonuses for high production. This seems like an ideal match: probationers have a higher unemployment rate than the general population, and farmers need people in the fields. It turns out, though, that hard work, hot weather, low pay, and inexperienced workers don’t make for a very bountiful harvest.

One probationer told the Associated Press:

“Those guys out here weren’t out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, ‘Bonk this, I ain’t with this, I can’t do this.’ They just left, took off across the field walking.”

With bonuses, an experienced worker at the cucumber farm AP reporters visited can make as much as $20 per hour. That depends on speed, something the new workers don’t have going for them yet.

Ga. puts probationers to work harvesting crops [AP] (Thanks, Arif!)

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  1. chiieddy says:

    The pro-immigration reform group always says that the illegal immigrants and migrant workers do the work Americans won’t do. Even at minimum wage, it looks like they’re being proven right.

    • BrooklynKnight says:

      No, they do work Americans aren’t willing to do for lower wages. I bet if they were getting paid 12$/hr instead of 7.45$ they might just be willing to stick it out.

      • Clippy says:

        the article says if they do the jobs well they do make above minimum wage. Maybe they should try working

      • FrostedButts says:

        Pff… the bastards (criminals) should be happy they are getting any pay at all. They are worthless to society; frankly, they should be working for free…

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          They served their time. I don’t want a justice system that punishes citizens for life regardless the crime.

          • Zowzers says:

            Too late. There already are crimes on the books where a person is punished for life, regardless of the length of their incarceration.

            • darcmosch says:

              No one is making a blanket statement, saying anyone can break any law whenever they want. It comes down to ethics and what you believe. The Bible’s a great place to start but you need to decide for yourself what is right and wrong. Should I steal that candybar because I want it? Of course not. Do I steal a candybar because my diabetic friend needs some sugar? Of course. The world is not black and white because some are justified to kill: soldiers, police officers, self-defense, etc. Most would agree that killing someone for anything less than to save someone’s life is not good enough to kill.over money or property. When it costs a lot of money to immigrate to this country, when you are poor but know you can make good money for your family, of course you’ll skirt that law. Obviously no one else wants it. They don’t commit laws and pay sales tax just fine. Why not just let them be legal so they can no longer be forced to make less than minimum wage? That would solve the “taking jobs” because now they’ll be looked at in a more even light. They also wouldn’t be illegal anymore.

              Plus, don’t they embody the American spirit? Working hard to raise a family and have a good life? Punish the ones that abuse the system and sling drugs, but the ones that have never done anything more than yearn for a better life, give them amnesty. They deserve it and we need them.

      • Jevia says:

        Well, nothing in the story says that the immigrants (illegal or not) were getting paid more than minimum wage, or even more than the probationers, unless they met the production bonus, which everyone had a chance to do.

        Truth is, most Americans don’t want to do labor intensive work for minimum wage, whereas many immigrants, coming from harsher conditions, will.

      • gttim says:

        According to the AP article linked, some of the immigrants make over $20 an hour because of the bonus system included to encourage faster work. So you can make money, but you have to be willing to bust your butt and learn how to work quickly. The new workers should be able to earn $12 an hour in no time, if they put the effort forward.

        Still, farmers are going to have to start paying more to get their crops picked. Food prices will probably go up. However all the free market libertarians should be happy!

      • bwcbwc says:

        Well, if the farmers paid wages that citizens were willing to stick out, we’d be seeing $5 cucumbers. At least until big agro started importing more veggies from Mexico, at which point the US farmers go out of business.

        Unfortunately for US workers, labor competition isn’t just inside the country. Until labor and transport costs for imports rise, farmers in the US that have to use hand rather than machine harvest can only compete globally by using migrants.

        Unless of course, US consumers have finally learned what the importance of “Buy American” really is. There’s a community benefit to buying US products that warrants paying a (small) premium on local products. Which in turn implies that completely free trade should not be a goal of US policy.

  2. Alter_ego says:

    But…I thought that the illegal immigrants were taking all of our jobs! They’re gone now, so all those people who so desperately wanted the jobs that the immigrants were stealing from them are going to show up and start doing those jobs, right?

    • Kevin411 says:

      Isn’t not wanting to put in “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” part of what got many of these folks on probation to start with?

      • Alter_ego says:

        I’m not even talking about these probationers. Apparently there’s an 11,000 person deficit of harvesters. Surely some of those positions can be filled by people complaining that they can’t get jobs because the illegal immigrants stole them all.

        • madmallard says:

          I like how they are arriving at these figures when the new law is less than 3 months old….

    • BHall says:

      Maybe the people who were complaining didn’t want to work but only wanted an excuse to continue not working? Now they can move to the pay is too low, then to the conditions are too hostile. After we get them all working in an air conditioned shed for 4x the minimum pay they can unionize for benefits or go on strike.

  3. Southern says:

    Not to mention they’ll probably file a lawsuit now for Cruel and Unusual Punishment. O.M.G. we tried to make them *gasp* WORK.. We should be so ashamed of ourselves. *Sigh*

    More people for the welfare roles when they get out! Woohoo!

    • badachie says:

      These are probationers. They’re already out.

      • Southern says:

        Thank you, Badachie, I totally overlooked that during my (failed) reading. When I read that my mind automatically inserted “prisoners that are permitted on work details” (which many prisoners that have good behaviour can get).

        Totally throws off my theory, though. Dangit. :)

    • DragonThermo says:

      That’s true. Why work in the fields when you can make almost the same amount of money sitting on your butt watching daytime television until your welfare check arrives?

      I’d say the welfare state is what is causing high unemployment. Why work when welfare almost pays as much as a minimum wage job?

  4. Hoss says:

    That ain’t like picking up cans on the highway — if the work isn’t done right and at the right pace, revenue is lost.

  5. Hoss says:

    That ain’t like picking up cans on the highway — if the work isn’t done right and at the right pace, revenue is lost.

  6. Hi_Hello says:

    Too all the people that said immigrate (without caring if they are legal or illegal) are taking jobs from ‘American’. I don’t see any of these people, who are unemployed, are filling these jobs.

    Some places don’t even pay min. wage. You only get paid for how many you bring in.

    • Theoncomingstorm says:

      First off, your post lacks coherency. Who has ever said that they are against immigrants, regardless of their legal status?
      As for being paid by their productivity, I’m sure they were told that up from.

  7. MPD01605 says:

    Reduced sentence for helping out maybe?

    • Hi_Hello says:

      They are on probation. Their life is pretty much the same, except that can’t cross the state line. Change their probation time isn’t going to do anything.

      • George4478 says:

        Lots of legal ramifications to probation beyond interstate travel. Ankle bracelets, limitations of who you can associate with, mandatory home inspections, monthly drug testing are some of possibilities, none of which are usually part of a person’s normal life.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          aint the bracelet only for house arrest. oh they have to talk to the probation officer once in awhile.

          maybe it depend on the state. I never saw anyone visiting my house.

          and the drug testing, does that apply to a non drug related crime?

      • pythonspam says:

        No, but obtaining and retaining employment often is a condition of probation or early release and many businesses are hesitant to even consider hiring ex-cons.

  8. RenegadePlatypus says:

    Title of article is either deliberately misleading or a bad typo. The workers that were deported were illegal aliens, not “migrant workers”. These are two very different terms. Immigrants hate the criminal fence-jumpers that sneak past the immigration procedures and steal the subsidies and resources from our taxpayers.
    Migrant workers, the ones who had the integrity and discipline to immigrate and work hard to create a better life for themselves and their families while respecting our laws and communities, despise the parasite illegals that give them a bad name and cause bigger roadblocks to immigration.

    • sir_eccles says:

      Guess what, both legal and illegal migrant workers are being scared off by heavy handed police.

      • RenegadePlatypus says:

        I agree, and that’s another huge reason immigrants hate the criminal fence-jumpers – they’ve created a hostile environment in the community and with law enforcement.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      hahaha you are funny. what you describe can apply to both illegal and legals.
      The system is flawed. 11,000 of those farm worker are illegal. They are hard worker who probably stay under the radar ( commit no crimes) so they don’t get notice and can work and make life better for their families. Most of there people aren’t looking out for themselves but someone else.

      Some legal immigrant bend the law to get into the states and are parasites on the country.

      • RenegadePlatypus says:

        There is no such thing as an “illegal immigrant”, that’s an oxymoron. Either you immigrated or you snuck in. I’ll go ahead and continue sticking up for immigrants and you go ahead and keep slapping them in the face by telling them that the hard work and discipline they needed to demonstrate to create a life in this country means nothing because you give preference to the criminals who want to cheat and steal their way in.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          i’m not given preferences to one group or the other. I”m merely stating that your comment can apply to both group of people.

          • RenegadePlatypus says:

            No, it can’t. Immigrants and illegal aliens are two different things. You really didn’t feel a twinge of funny when you wrote that illegal aliens “probably break no laws”? What makes them illegal?

            Have you ever applied for a mortgage? You’ve worked hard all your life to build a credit score. You’ve embraced your high school education and held a job for 5 years and behaved well at work. You’ve jumped through all these hoops hoping to fulfill your dream as a homeowner. Just as you are taking the keys to your new home from the real estate agent, a guy sneaks up and snatches the keys, runs to the house and locks the door… yelling something about how he “deserves it”.

            I don’t support the guy that snatched the keys, I stick up for guy who got the home loan. I support the immigrants, you make heroes of the criminals.

            • Hi_Hello says:

              let me try to again.

              Immigrants hate the criminal fence-jumpers that sneak past the immigration procedures and steal the subsidies and resources from our taxpayers.

              There a immigrants who are not illegal aliens, that passed through the immigration procedures and steal the subsidies and resources from out taxpayers.

              Migrant workers, the ones who had the integrity and discipline to immigrate and work hard to create a better life for themselves and their families while respecting our laws and communities

              There are Illegal Aliens, work hard to a better life for themselves and their families.

              That is what I mean that your comments can apply to both group of people.
              The only different is how they got into the countries.

              • RenegadePlatypus says:

                Fair enough – I suppose maybe I can see why my argument can be seen as arguing semantics in some contexts. I’ve been reacting to the misleading title and context of this article, it seems to imply that “immigration crackdowns”, i.e. targeting illegal aliens, is somehow seeing to it that migrant workers are being replaced. But “immigration crackdowns” is a euphemism for sweeps by ICE to remove illegals. So it’s not the immigrants that are being pushed out. It’s the criminals.

                • Hi_Hello says:

                  i see your points though, the words illegal and legal get used around by both parties to their benefits. The last rally that was around here… there was some law that will affect illegals, but the legal who came to protest was complaining that it was unfair for immigrants even though the law was not going to affect them.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            I think you misunderstand.

            The term “migrant worker” does not refer to someone’s residency status. It refers to someone who moves around the country to pick grown crops for farmers.

            That is what Renegade was stating. He doesn’t want all migrant workers lumped into the illegal immigrant group, but that’s not accurate.

            You’re trying to argue philosophy, and he’s just arguing semantics.

            • RenegadePlatypus says:

              I’m sure most people understand the difference between the two is much more than semantics. Do you have any idea what it takes to immigrate and start a life in this country? The time, the effort, the discipline, the patience. Not just semantics. And it’s not like cutting in line at McDonalds to get your nuggets before everyone who’s been waiting.

              • crashfrog says:

                Do you know what it takes for a Mexican farm laborer to legally enter the country during the harvest season, work for a wage, and then return to Mexico after the season has ended?

                Well, currently it would take an act of Congress, because the law does not allow a Mexican immigrant to do that. Given that all seasonal employment migration into the US is illegal it’s a little absurd to blame Mexican immigrants for not following the law.

                • RenegadePlatypus says:

                  You’re wrong. A person absolutely can immigrate to this country and take a seasonal job if they’d like. Heck, an immigrant can take a full time job with overtime. This article misleading described how a crackdown on illegal aliens scared the criminals away, they stopped showing up for work (read the source article linked). I understand you believe that immigration and borders and laws are simply unnecessary, cruel and elitist. People who understand economics and law disagree.

                  • crashfrog says:

                    No, absolutely wrong. By law you can’t enter the country temporarily from Mexico and work. You can either spend decades trying to enter the country permanently, and then work; or you can enter the country temporarily and not be allowed to work.

                    But you can’t legally do both. The number of H2A visas is legally capped by law and is already exceeded by the time you get to the Mexican immigrants. The law is unfair and racist. Nobody cares about how many web developers from Canada come in, legally or otherwise.

                    • RenegadePlatypus says:

                      No, I did *not* say they allow people to immigrate here simply for wanting to come work here to take seasonal work.

                      What I said was a person can absolutely immigrate to this country then take a seasonal job, or they can immigrate here and take a full-time job with overtime. If they go through proper immigration procedures, they can work any kind of job they want. But they would have to go through immigration.

                      If they don’t qualify to immigrate to this country for any reason, yes, they can not immigrate, and therefore cannot just pop in to take a seasonal job.

                      But since you’re not aware, there are many legal immigrants in this country, many of them do work seasonal jobs. But they just didn’t obtain legal immigrant status simply by virtue of wanting to work a seasonal job.

                    • RenegadePlatypus says:

                      …. also, by the way, I think the Mexicans that have legally immigrated to this country every year in spite of not being highly-skilled would laugh at you.

                      Good luck convincing us that all Mexican-born workers in this country are illegal aliens since a non-skilled Mexican is not permitted to immigrate legally.

                    • crashfrog says:

                      “No, I did *not* say they allow people to immigrate here simply for wanting to come work here to take seasonal work.”

                      Right, and that’s the point. There’s no such thing as a “seasonal temporary legal immigrant.” There’s no legal path for a Mexican who wants to do that, so blaming them for not taking a path that doesn’t get them where they want to go makes no sense. The problem is that there’s no legal path to working temporarily in the US and residing permanently in Mexico. But why shouldn’t there be? Because some Mexicans would rather become legal residents of the US, all Mexicans who want to work temporarily in the US should be forced to? That makes no sense at all.

                • Zowzers says:

                  “it’s a little absurd to blame Mexican immigrants for not following the law.”

                  So what you are saying here is that its OK to brake laws that you don’t agree with or are inconvenient to what you want to do.

                  Sweet!!!

                  • crashfrog says:

                    Yes, it’s absolutely morally OK to break an unjust law. What’s immoral is obeying an unjust law.

                    • Zowzers says:

                      Define “Unjust” please. I think you’ll find it very subjective, so much so as you could potentially define any law as unjust.

                      For example, there are those that believe that there should be Zero regulations or restrictions on firearms ownership, siting the 2nd amendment. Given your Moral responsibility rule, those people should actively disobey any and all firearms laws.

                      Same thing goes for Taxes, Speed limits, health care… anything someone may not agree with really.

                    • crashfrog says:

                      And if the law required you to help round up your Jewish and black neighbors for incarceration and execution, as it has in some countries under some circumstances? Are you saying that you should obey because that’s the law, and we can’t just have people picking and choosing what laws should be followed?

                • leprechaunshawn says:

                  I cannot help but LOL at that statement. Let me substitute a few words and see if you can still defend your original thought.
                  Given that murder, rape and robbery is illegal it’s a little absurd to blame murderers, rapists and robbers for not following the law.
                  Illegal is illegal and illegal means illegal.

    • badachie says:

      Georgia has to authority to deport illegal immigrants. Also, there is nothing to suggest that the workers who once harvested crops is Georgia have been deported. Or even left Georgia for that matter. They’re just not working in the fields.

    • Hobart007 says:

      I agree w/ RenegadePlatypus. My wife is a legal immigrant. We spent years and money to do it right. She just got her citizenship. Our stance is that the laws are there for a reason. America is a great immigrant country and a great place to live. The spirit of America is not antithetical to the idea that we should have controls on who enters the country and under what conditions.

      The idea of immigration control is NOT a “movement” the idea of having no controls and ignoring existing law is the “movement” here. Since when is obeying the law a change from the status quo?

      • crashfrog says:

        “The spirit of America is not antithetical to the idea that we should have controls on who enters the country and under what conditions.”

        No, but the spirit of America is extremely antithetical to the idea that we should have such controls simply because we don’t like Mexicans very much.

        I’m glad that the immigration process was not so burdensome for your wife that she wasn’t able to complete it. My guess, however, is that she’s not a low-skilled Hispanic immigrant from Mexico or South America. For those individuals, particularly the ones not already married to Americans, the “controls” are much more stringent – to the point of being all but impossible to complete in a single lifetime.

        You can hardly make the argument that it’s not “fair” for Hispanics to immigrate illegally when so many other people follow immigration law when the law itself puts a significantly higher burden on Hispanic immigrants than on other types of immigrants. The truth is that there is no legal path for a Mexican citizen who wants to reside in the US during the harvest season to do farm work, then return to Mexico to be with his family. So blaming illegal immigrants for not following the law when there is no way for the law to be followed seems pretty stupid.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Actually there is — the H-2A visa program: http://www.legallanguage.com/legal-articles/h-2a-visa/

          It’s a little underutilized, but it does allow for legal migrant workers. Farmers don’t necessarily want to go through the paperwork for the program.

        • Alter_ego says:

          My step-grandfather was from England, and we spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to get the system to allow him to emigrate so that he could spend his last few years alive with my mother, and the system wouldn’t let him immigrate. And, because he’d applied and been denied, he was also denied the six month visa that he had been coming here on on alternating six-month periods for about 25 years. My mom couldn’t be by the side of a man she considered a father, or there to support her mother, at all as he slowly died of a brain tumor. I’m glad that some people have had good experiences with the immigration system, but I’m sorry, “just apply to live here legally” is really not a helpful piece of advice for a lot of people.

          • Not Given says:

            I knew an older woman who was taking care of her mother. She met a man online and they wanted to get married and live in England. They wouldn’t let her mother move to England with her so he had to quit his job and move here instead.

        • Theoncomingstorm says:

          Please, enlighten us. Could you at least direct us to sources that you didn’t cite, or should we just nod our heads and agree with you.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      Those who are so inclined to be politically correct can call them whatever they want. In the eyes of the law, and many hard working AMERICANS, they’re criminals.

  9. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    It sounds like a good way for unemployed high school students and recent graduates to get in some money while also getting fresh air, sunshine, and mild exercise.

    If I’d seen a job of this nature advertised in my rural area around that age, I’d probably have given it a shot. Why? Because I hated working retail, and working in a big field with no horrible customers? I would have been so there.

    • Kate says:

      Mild exercise?

      I used to do field work when I was a teenager. It was hard work that left you sunburned and corn poisoned.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        corn poisoned??

        • Kate says:

          A rash you get on your arms when you walk through corn fields. I rogued corn (removed corn volunteers that had sprouted from last year’s crop from seed fields) for a corn seed company.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            It’s actually fairly common. In the past decade, we’ve had about a dozen field techs (biology and archaeology) come down with severe allergic reactions from working in corn fields.

            • Kate says:

              Tell them to wear long sleeves. That did it for me.

              • FrankReality says:

                My kids worked for a seed corn company putting bags on ears (sort of like a corn condom), detasseling and pollenating. Very dirty work and often very wet due to dew. When I was a kid I walked beans with a machete and picked rocks.

                Around here, nobody picks rocks by hand anymore, farmers now have machinery to do it and very rarely do you see bean walkers – they’ve been replaced by weed sprayers. It’s too expensive to hire people (legal or otherwise) to do it by hand. Farmers used to have haying crews that would throw the bales onto a wagon, then load them and stack them in a barn, now they make large round bales or large square bales and use forks on tractor to move them where needed – haying went from a 4 or 5 person operation to a single operator.

                There are some crops grown around here that are still picked by hand, generally small plots for farmer’s markets, usually by the owner and their family. In my area, there are a lot of Hmong refugees and they do incredible amounts of vegetable farming, almost entirely by hand – sort of a throwback to the old family farm.

                My county has low risk jail occupants do work through a “sentence to serve” program. While they don’t harvest crops, they do things like cut brush along highway right of ways. Most of them are happy to be doing something other than sitting in a jail cell.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I did the same thing in high Jr. High and High School. It was hard work but it definitely beat working fast food. I went to school in Pittsburgh but it was very common for us to travel to central PA and work the fields each summer, while living out of a barn for 3 months.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      If you don’t meet you quota on the first day, they won’t ask you to come back. There’s no training period. You do have a point about customer service….

    • sirwired says:

      You should try it. It’s hot, brutal, back-breaking work. You are in the open sunshine (no shade) all day, hunched-over, hauling heavy boxes of produce too and fro, with only very occasional breaks.

      Even the fresh air is dubious if it’s a multi-harvest truck, you might have pesticide or herbicide trucks spraying the field while you are in the middle of picking it.

      • sirwired says:

        Oops… I meant multi-harvest crop (not truck)

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        I guess it depends on the crop. My mom worked an orange orchard during one autumn when they they were anticipating an early frost–they dragged anyone in so long as they had a pulse. She said it was overall a fun experience.

    • Darryl, Darryl, and Darryl says:

      Um, obviously you’ve never worked in the fields. I did for a few summers while in high school, and I can tell you first hand it’s not “mild exercise”. The only reason it was worth it for me is because they paid a lot more per hour than the fast food restaurants and the local Caldor.

      And not to cast too much of a generalization over those on parole, but I gotta think they’re probably not the most unselfish, highly-motivated, hard-working kind of people.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You get used to it.

        • Darryl, Darryl, and Darryl says:

          Yeah, you do get used to it after awhile, but it’s still never going to be as the OP described, which sounds a lot more like picking up trash in a shady, sweet-smelling park on a 70 degree day — not anything like farm work.

    • zzyzzx says:

      Seems to me an ideal way to combat obesity in our Ex-Con population.

  10. ModerateOne says:

    dey took ur job

  11. Total Casual says:

    Some of them balk, others will become experienced and succeed. Sounds like a smart program to me.

    • ModerateOne says:

      I think the point is the program is not working.

      • Maximus Pectoralis says:

        Let’s try it once and call it a failure. Isn’t that what they’re trying to do with that consumer product safety database?

        The fact is these people are ALL ex-criminals. It’s not likely they had a good work ethic to start with. Some of them will want to make an honest living and some of them will be lazy and entitled. It seems that one day in the fields is enough to make that determination.

        • Gregg Araki Rocks My World says:

          Yes, criminals commit crimes because they are lazy. Any more generalizations? Maybe about how Asians are good at math, or how Black people are the best dancers. Please, go on, we must know more.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          And seeing as (a) we cannot (yet) press people into certain types of employment involuntarily, and (b) I doubt you are ready to pay 5x the amount for your strawberries and corn if the wages for farmworkers get elevated to native citizen “living” wages, I’m not really seeing another option other than to have comprehensive immigration reform. Do you?

          The whole “throw the ILLEEEEEGALZ OUTTT111!!” line of thinking strikes me as a halfazz’d solution.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Subsidize fresh produce and tax processed food.

            Problem solved.

            • Not Given says:

              I could live with that. A VAT on every step of processing. Turn corn into HFCS, VAT. Grind wheat into flour, VAT. Make a TV dinner out of 30 ingredients, most of which have already been taxed, VAT.

  12. savdavid says:

    LOL! This bill will be repealed soon.

  13. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    This would be a good experience for high school kids as a field trip/history class. Pay them per bushel of whatever they harvest, teach them where food comes from, what it takes to make it grow… Could be a useful segway into urban/vertical farming.

    http://www.verticalfarm.com/

  14. Acolyte says:

    Send in one criminal to do another criminals work is what it looks like. I dont see this working out, most of these probationers just arent cut out for this kind of work and dont want to do it, kudos for those who are trying though!

  15. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    There are no jobs that Americans wont do but there are definitely jobs that Americans wont do for minimum wage. If I need to pay more for produce, if it means those working the fields get decent pay and health insurance, then so be it.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      okay, it’s been a long time since I was at a blueberry farm… base on how make they get paid for a crate of berries ($1) and how much they charge for a container for blueberries at the supermarket (around $3.50). I forgot how much containers are in a crate..so I”m going to guess…

      to pay these worker a decent salaries with health care and benefits… are you willing to pay around $70 dollar for a container of blueberries that right now cost $3.50 ??

      maybe you would… but do you think everyone else will?

      • Starrion says:

        Right.

        You won’t get the chance to “pay more”. The blueberries at the $1.50 per pound premium won’t be purchased by the supermarket. They will buy them from (at lower cost) from some state that hasn’t chased off all the illegals, or from overseas.

        The farmer’s that won’t be able to compete at the marketplace will go out of business.

      • Maximus Pectoralis says:

        The reason they cost so much at the store has little to do with labor prices in harvesting them and more to do with stores putting on big profit margins. If I go to the supermarket, corn is something like 4 pieces for $2. If I go to straight to a real farm market I can get a huge bag of fresh-off-the-farm corn (probably at least 12-15 pieces) that are much bigger and better quality for $2-3 (I don’t remember the exact price but it was a massive difference)

        Same thing with spices. I can get a little 2oz jar of cumin or something at the supermarket for around $5 or I can go to an indian store and get an 8oz bag for around $3.

        • Hi_Hello says:

          I was just doing price comparison in order to keep everything the same.

          to figure out how much profit they make you need to start figuring out the cost to ship, store, and and that stuff.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “to pay these worker a decent salaries with health care and benefits… are you willing to pay around $70 dollar for a container of blueberries that right now cost $3.50 ??”

        Wasn’t a virtually identical argument used prior to the civil war in regards to cotton prices if slavery was abolished?

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      They were not being paid just minimum wage. They were being paid minimum wage plus a bonus, which could’ve amounted to $20 an hour total.

      I picked beans and other crops when I was in high school. There was no wage at all, just $1.00 a bushel. When I first started, I made about 50 cents an hour, but within weeks I was making $2.00 an hour. Some people made about $2.50 an hour. This is when minimum wage was $1.65 (I think, or it was $1.85).

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I think the key is “up to”, which amounts to a pretty meaningless number. Minimum wage at a seasonal job doesn’t amount to much.

  16. mavrick67 says:

    starting “The Shawshank Redemption” comments in 3, 2, 1, . . . .

  17. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Perhaps if some of the legal migrant farmers could be there to teach them. Mixed the population so it’s not so convict heavy.

  18. VintageLydia says:

    Took the words right out of my mouth! It sounds like the work is worth more than minimum wage.

  19. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    You tell a bunch of excons there is work, with them fully knowing they will have an extreme difficult time finding work, will take the job. Of course 100% aren’t going to be up to this, but as the article pointed out some were suited. And that’s just day 1. You think a latino worker made $20/hour the first day?

    It seems this will work for SOME excons, which makes it a success.

    • jkinatl2 says:

      2000 workers when 11000 are needed? Not much success there.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        That’s 2000 less than they needed before = success, just not a resounding complete solution.

        Why can’t they have incremental success?

        • RandomHookup says:

          Incremental success might be useful, but it depends on the time that a crop is able to be harvested. The crop might spoil before you have enough time to harvest it.

  20. legolex says:

    Bonk this!

  21. Blueskylaw says:

    “With bonuses, an experienced worker at the cucumber farm AP reporters visited can make as much as $20 per hour”

    Or as little as ?

  22. Hartwig says:

    There was a good article on CNN a while back where they interviewed a few people in georgia who were on unemployment and asked them why they haven’t applied to work on the farms. Many said farm work was below them. Maybe before they pass these reforms which severely lessen the workforce for a certain job segment they should poll their potential replacements and see if they are even willing to do the job.

    Not to mention as one farmer pointed out. He would much rather have hard working immigrants on his farm with his kids around than to have a bunch of convicted criminals.

  23. Get A Amberlance says:

    “Shakin’ the bush, boss”

  24. Get A Amberlance says:

    “Shakin’ the bush, boss”

  25. human_shield says:

    Awesome idea.

  26. Get A Amberlance says:

    “Shakin’ the bush, Boss”

  27. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    But hey…we shoor showd them FURRINERZ not to be ILL-LEEGALZ. America…$%^ YEAH!!!111

    Also, the whole “throwing a bone to the ‘corrections industry’ complex” via cheap “captive” labor ain’t working out so good, is it?

  28. PunditGuy says:

    [booming, echoing voice]Fundamentals… of… Capitalism![/voice]

    In a competitive market, the price of a good or service will settle at a point where quantity demanded will meet the quantity supplied. Too much supply and too little demand? The price drops. Too much demand and too little supply? The price increases.

    Robber Baron Corollary: This fundamental rule is never, ever, under any circumstances, to be applied to labor. Substitute slavery or illegal immigration to artificially increase supply.

  29. The Lone Gunman says:

    Interesting idea, and that it came from Georgia.

    How soon before they attempt to reinstate chain gangs as well as prison stoop labor?

  30. MedicallyNeedy says:

    What if we’re in a paper war? What would the enemy do differently?
    Influence politicians:
    – to pass laws to dumb us down. (No Child Left Behind)
    -deregulate wallstreet
    -make people fear their own poor and middle class. -Make it hard to get healthcare. -Make it easier to buy a a bag of pork rhinds then a bag of rice. -Put cheese on everything so when we order something we have the say “without cheese” (and get it anyway).
    -Imprison a higher percentage of our population then any other country.
    -Make them wage slaves where they can never make enough to get their heads above water.

  31. Razor512 says:

    The problem is that those jobs require you to be adjusted to those conditions.

    For example suppose you lived in a area with a cooler climate, and did a office job, but was in the wrong place at the wrong time and you get put in jail. If when you get out and they put you to work on a farm, you wont be able to handle the work.

    Most people who are considered illegal have had a hard life and in most cases are used to that kind of work (generally because they had no choice but to get used to it).

    Most of the people in government who come up with these programs have no idea the work involved. They are generally people who project their work life onto all jobs, especially when they are paid by forcibly collected taxes and make $100K + a year for doing very little work.

  32. madmallard says:

    Thanks for the incorrect commentary that this is an immigration crackdown.

    The correct observation would be this is an illegal immigration crackdown.

    Correctly defining the terms is necessary for the discussion to move forward.

  33. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    The issue here isn’t that Americans will not perform well working agricultural jobs. The issue is people who are on probation will not do agricultural work. Could an aversion to hard work be one of the contributing factors in why they are currently on probation? Except those who were convicted of “doing drugs” and a few minor violent offenses (bar fights), most crimes that will get you probation have a financial incentive.

  34. ghostberry says:

    Same problem in AZ, now they are rushing to try and get them to come back lol. Try digging your foot out of your mouth guys!

  35. FrugalFreak says:

    Is GA Dept of correction getting any money out of this? I hope Not.