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Farm Jobs Big In San Diego, But Not Among Americans

Audio

Aired 10/1/10

Despite the high unemployment, Americans in San Diego aren't taking farm jobs. The United Farm Workers' Take Our Jobs Campaign has been trying to change that.

— Despite the high unemployment, Americans in San Diego aren't taking farm jobs. The United Farm Workers' Take Our Jobs Campaign has been trying to change that.

UFW immigrant farm workers from throughout the country.
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Above: UFW immigrant farm workers from throughout the country.

A group of immigrant farm workers came up with the idea a few months ago.

Eager to influence the outcome of the current AgJOBS bill in Congress, the United Farm Workers wanted to see whether Americans would apply to jobs in agricultural production.

UFW President, Arturo Rodriguez, was surprised to find that no one from San Diego county took the pledge.

"The truth is that if farm workers did not go and pick the strawberries there in San Diego county, or did not harvest the fruits and vegetables that are grown there, we wouldn't have that done any longer," said Rodriguez. "It just wouldn't happen in this country -- everything would be moving down to Mexico."

Last week, the United Farm Workers enlisted comedian Stephen Colbert to highlight the fact that Americans aren't interested in farm jobs.

At a congressional hearing, Colbert joked about working 12-hour shifts, at $10 an hour, under the hot sun. But Rodriguez says there is nothing funny about this type of labor.

"Not only would we not have our fruits and vegetables, but we would lose all these other jobs that are associated with agriculture -- millions of jobs -- in the packing, in the processing, in the trucking," Rodriguez adds. "So that they really do bring about tremendous value to our economy."

As part of the Take Our Jobs campaign, California farms posted ads for 1,100 farm worker positions open Americans. But only 36 of those jobs have been filled.

There are more farm workers in California than anywhere else in the country -- 95 percent of them are immigrants.

Comments

Avatar for user 'LeckerUndLustig'

LeckerUndLustig | October 5, 2010 at 12:54 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

How about moving mexicans to America? We could pay them to do the job and offer them a fast track to Green Card. Our system is stupid. We have illegals doing this work and not getting any support. No insurance, no accountablity from either party. Ilegals come and go, give them a ss number and tax them. They get out of Mexico, we get labor help and accountability from them. People are so hung up on politics that they cannot see the bigger picture. Does anyone know how long it takes a Mexican to get a green card? People in Mexico (Mexicans) do not have many options, drug cartel or sneek into America. The reason I say people in Mexico is that they are potential Americans. We do not choose where we are born; therefore, we are all potentials.

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