13
   

Decent jobs but no takers......

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Oct, 2011 09:16 am
@boomerang,
revelette's response to the apple-picking shortage when it was noted on another thread

http://able2know.org/topic/165850-143#post-4776657
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Oct, 2011 09:27 am
You guys have to remember three factors:

1, lack of mobility. Many of those without a job or just graduated from college don't live in the country and have no access to such jobs.

2, high gasoline prices prevent those who DO live in the city from commuting too far to work - $150 isn't a ton to begin with, and when you add in $20-30 in gas and 2 hours commute, the situation sucks.

3, lack of family mobility - many of those who are older but unemployed can't migrate to regions with more employment, b/c they can't sell their houses.

All this adds up to an inability for the labor force (which is concentrated in the cities and big states) to find the labor shortage (in the country and in small states). It's not about people being unwilling bastards.

Though I will say, I picked fruits a bit as a kid, and it's not work I remember fondly. It was fun enough - for the first 2 hours. After that it sucked.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2011 11:43 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

In the white collar crowd though - it is typical for part timers not to get any health insurance coverage or significantly less covered by the employer. When I heard about what Walmart was doing - I was shocked they had even covered part-time workers previously.


Quite right.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2011 12:42 am
There's a long tradition in this country of going where the work is.

Obviously not everyone can move, but these jobs aren't vacant simply because all the many thousands who would take them can't get to them.

What is the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in most states? I think that here in Texas it's like $450, but in NJ it's more like $600. Let's say the average is $500

Picking fruit in Washington you can make $750. That's an increase of 50% over the average UE max. Sounds like a lot to me. It would sure pay for a week's groceries.

We're talking about annual pay of $39,000 v $26,000. Both are above the national poverty level of $22,350 for a family of four. The fruit picker is above the poverty level by 75%

And this is not to mention the inherent value of having an honest job where you are paid for doing a decent day's worth of work.

I would imagine that fruit picking is season work which has to be taken into consideration.

No one is going to get rich picking fruit, but then they're not getting rich on unemployment, and those benefits will eventually run out.

The fact of the matter is that there would be a lot more takers if the $125 a day was off the books. Then the guy on unemployment would be looking at $1,250 a week or $65,000 a year

The average annual wage is about $42,000. Remove the top 10% of wage earners from the equation and the average is about $31,000

The WA fruit picker is making close to the average annual wage, all in, and $8,000 more per year that the average of the bottom 90%.

Obviously the guy who can pick fruit and collect UE benefits is doing well above average.

The monetary difference between picking fruit and collecting UE is not insignificant, but then neither is the difference in terms of effort expenditure.

I'm sure that plenty of mobile workers simply prefer to sit on their butts versus breaking their backs, and many who while they might not physically flinch from hard manual labor, psychologically do.

I can't say I admire the UE cheats who work off the books and also collect benefits, but at least they are working.

I certainly don't blame a college graduate for being disappointed at the choice of picking apples or collecting UE. For most of his life he's been sold a bill of goods about getting a college education and any sort of degree. The problem is that just any sort of degree is not worth a whole lot. It might be his mistake because he went with the easiest major he could find or his interests are too specialized and arcane, but colleges aren't telling kids they're wasting their money on sociology and psychology degrees, that there isn't an endless number of teaching jobs for all the education majors, and that a major in Northern European Folklore or Minority Studies doesn't lend itself to a whole lot of paying jobs after graduation. They'll take the kids' money and give them their degrees. What they do with them is their problem.

With all the demands for forgiveness of student loans, why isn't anyone demand that colleges lower their tuition rates and/or better focus kids on education that will actually teach them something of value in the marketplace?


BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2011 09:40 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
November 2, 2011
Washington state Gov. Gregoire: Prisoners needed to pick apples
By Rob Hotakainen | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Even after deploying 105 prison inmates this week to help pick apples in eastern Washington state, Gov. Chris Gregoire says growers still need from 3,000 to 4,000 workers to help harvest before the season's first major freeze.

"We're sitting on the potential of having the third largest crop, at around 105 million boxes, and we can't get them picked," Gregoire said in an interview.

The Democratic governor defended the plan to dispatch the male offenders from the Olympic Corrections Center in Clallam County, Wash., a minimum-security work camp, to an orchard in Wenatchee Valley, where they began work Monday, earning $8.67 an hour.

She called it "a one-time deal" but said the nation's top apple-producing state had little choice when growers could not find enough workers, even after advertising jobs with pay of $120 to $150 per day.

"I don't believe we have ever done this in history. ... But it's either that or let the apples rot," Gregoire said.

Putting prisoners to work for private business is hardly a new idea in much of the country, but it has generated plenty of controversy.

When a huge oil spill hit the Gulf of Mexico last year, British Petroleum used prisoners to help clean up the mess.

In Colorado, prisoners have been used for fish farming. Maryland prisoners have helped make flags. In Georgia, prisoners have helped clean foreclosed houses. And in New York, prisoners have helped pick up the garbage.

Paul Wright, founder and editor of Prison Legal News, a publication that has tracked the experiments, said the prison-labor plans often are attractive to politicians who want to appear tough on crime and appeal to voters by boasting that "we're making the bad guys work." But he said they have a poor track record.

"In the states that have tried it, it has fizzled pretty miserably," he said. "As a general rule, it's not like this is a great workforce."

While the labor might be cheaper, Wright said that states often are forced to pick up the costs of security, transportation and other expenses, making the plans tantamount to "a not-so-subtle taxpayer subsidy" for employers. And he said that employers, instead of "casting about for slave-labor alternatives," should consider a proven market solution for a labor shortage: Raise the pay.

"I have a hard enough time getting people to show up for $10 an hour to do light office work," Wright said.

Bradley Brockmann, executive director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights in Providence, R.I., said most prisoners would welcome the opportunity to work outdoors, "given the dearth of exposure to anything natural in a normal prison setting, either air or light, let alone being truly outdoors."

"This kind of work can actually be a positive experience for prisoners," he said. "Assuming that the prisoners are clothed and fed adequately, given proper skin protection to the extent necessary, not forced to work in inclement weather, I don't see this as a negative."

Gregoire said she faced stiff opposition from some of her advisers, who responded with "a resounding no," when she first broached the possibility of using prisoners to assist in the harvest.

After all, they told her, it had never been tried before in the state, it would be too expensive to train the inmates, and there were too many risks. But Gregoire said that officials at the state Department of Corrections "stepped right up" when asked to help.

The inmates, most of them aged 25 to 45, reported to work at the McDougall & Sons, Inc., orchard in Quincy, Grant County, on Monday morning, after undergoing brief training on Sunday.

Wearing red shirts and sweatshirts and khaki pants, they've been picking apples for seven to eight hours a day and are expected to remain at the site for the rest of the week.

The company declined to comment, but state officials said the company has been happy with the crew's performance so far.

"They're pretty happy to be doing it — not only are they making money, but they're helping the community out in a way they're not typically able to do," said Danielle Wiles, assistant director for Correction Industries, a division of the Department of Corrections.

For the workers, participation is voluntary, but there are restrictions: They cannot be sex offenders, they must be physically able to work, and they must not have had any infractions in the last six months.

Wiles said the employer is paying the state $22 an hour for each worker, which covers the inmate's pay and all other logistical costs, including the security provided by seven guards, and transportation, housing and food for the prisoners.

The state Department of Natural Resources helped bring in tents and trailers for showers and sleeping quarters. No security incidents have been reported.

Wiles said that state officials estimate that the average inmate will receive net pay of $1 to $2 per hour after money is subtracted for child support, taxes, crime victim compensation, incarceration costs and any other legal and financial obligations.

In addition, she said, prisoners are forced to save at least 10 percent of their earnings for "seed money" to pay for an apartment or other costs when they're released.

Bernie Warner, secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections, said the effort is helping all parties: "We help the apple growers, and the offenders work to pay off their financial obligations and cost of incarceration."

Dan Newhouse, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, said growers are reporting more concerns about labor shortages than at any time in the past five years.

"If farmers can't get their fruit off the trees before a hard freeze, they have a major disaster on their hands," he said. "We're working to fill the gaps."

Last month, Gregoire, Newhouse and a delegation of 15 agricultural producers came to Washington, D.C., to ask Congress for help, saying the federal government must make it easier for foreign workers to assist in U.S. agricultural operations.

Officials estimate that nearly 72 percent of the seasonal workers in Washington state are illegal immigrants. And they said that many would-be workers are staying away because they fear they'll be detained.

While attempts to overhaul immigration laws have stymied Congress, Gregoire said it will be important for lawmakers to soon break their logjam to help the nation's agricultural producers.

In the meantime, she said: "Let's be honest with each other. If Congress doesn't act, we're going to have to go to some sort of extraordinary solutions."

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/02/129064/washington-state-gov-prisoners.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz1cenf70Xg
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2011 10:06 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
I suspect that pay is for an experienced fruit picker, though. From what I've read, they pay by the box/crate/bushel/whatever picked, not by the hour.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2011 10:26 am
Seems on the surface any way - a win-win.
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2011 10:47 am
I just wish the pickers would trim their nails.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 01:41 pm
I'm not sure if these two things might be related or not but I can't find fresh apple cider anywhere this year. Being that I live in apple country fresh cider is everywhere this time of year. I've been to four stores, including the little gourmet store and nobody has it. I'm going to drive over to the fruit stand on the off chance they'll have some.

Mr. B is sad without his cider.

Are any other cider lovers having this problem?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 01:45 pm
@boomerang,
I used to always get mine at a local stand.. back when I lived in apple country. Sigh.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 02:04 pm
@boomerang,
Maybe due to Thanksgiving? Big item for us at Thanksgiving.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 02:29 pm
@boomerang,
When you say fresh, do you mean unpasteurized? Many orchards have stopped pressing apples because they are required to pasteurize the juice. It can require expensive equipment. It all started because of a few cases of e.coli popped up a few years ago. That probably happened because apples were used that had been siting on the ground for awhile, but it sent the Food Police into a flurry of regulations. You can only get fresh pressed juice right off the farm/orchard now and it is not available in stores.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 02:43 pm
@Green Witch,
I wasn't remembering about pasteurization, but I'm sure you're right. The gallon jugs I bought were orchard fresh, nuthin like it in stores.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 02:44 pm
Lots of cider around here (LOTS) but not sure about the pasteurized/ unpasteurized question.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 02:48 pm
@ossobuco,
I think this was the place - in Fortuna.

http://clendenensciderworks.com/index.htm
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2011 03:05 pm
@Green Witch,
We usually buy it at the orchard. They're not too far from the house but further than I wanted to drive this week what with the holiday and ski season getting started.

I found some at the fruit stand but you're right -- it's "flash pasteurized" (it must be my day to learn about pasteurization). It's good but not quite as pulpy as I like it.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2012 12:12 pm
And the saga continues:
In Washington State, Picker Shortage Threatens Apple Boom
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/03/162145140/in-washington-state-picker-shortage-threatens-apple-boom
0 Replies
 
 

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