Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Business > Do U.S. Citizens Really Want to do Back-Breaking Labor for Minimum Wage?

Do U.S. Citizens Really Want to do Back-Breaking Labor for Minimum Wage?

LatinaLista — The title of a new Arizona coalition sounds more like the name of an early morning talk show than an organized effort to combat the first fallout of the state’s do-it-yourself approach to immigration reform.


Yet, the 15-member, high-profile team of the Wake Up Arizona Coalition are hoping that they can make their fellow Arizonans see what the true repercussions of a new state law targeting businesses that hire undocumented workers really are.
The bill, signed into law this month by Arizona’s governor, goes into effect January 1, 2008. Basically, the law says that if a business is found to be out of compliance with the new law, it “allows a judge to suspend a firm’s license to do business for up to 10 days. A second violation in three years means permanent revocation.”
All of the coalition members are business owners who obviously have something to lose with this new law — their workers, and not just undocumented workers.
As the members of the coalition point out, it just won’t be the undocumented Latinos that will be out of jobs but the non-undocumented as well.
When a business loses a part of its workforce, it’s bound to impact the job security of the rest of the employees. It’s very easy to say or think that the displaced workers are easily replaceable but the sad truth in this country is that not everyone makes the same wages — nor do they exhibit the same work ethic for less money.
There are some who are on the low-end of the pay scale. Without them, businesses couldn’t run, or at the very least, stay affordable for the rest of us to enjoy their services or products.
It’s no understatement to say that all eyes will be on Arizona to see what the impact of this law will be.
At the very least, it will show that many people, American citizens, will not want to do back-breaking labor for minimum wage.
At the most, it will be a testament as to how much this economy really owes the undocumented labor force.

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  • yave begnet
    July 20, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    There are some who are on the low-end of the pay scale. Without them, businesses couldn’t run, or at the very least, stay affordable for the rest of us to enjoy their services or products.
    Well, yes, at least within the parameters of our current economic system. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no economically defensible reason for, to pick one example, a lawyer at a white-shoe firm to burn through buckets of money by expensing overpriced meals, flying business class at the last minute, or taking a car service to the dry cleaner, in order to overbill his filthy rich clients who are in turn overcharging their customers.
    And corporate America is supposed to be the pinnacle of efficiency!? There is something seriously wrong with this model. The day laborer who gets paid in a month what that lawyer gets paid in a day is, in all likelihood, working harder and more efficiently and providing more valuable services than most of the overpaid con artists at the top our society worships.

  • Horace
    July 21, 2007 at 2:45 am

    Americans do not wish to do the work that migrants do at the wages that migrants accept to do it. The dependence on cheap migrant labor has hindered the progress of mechanized labor for such work. At one time in this country, cotton, wheat, barley and other crops were all planted and harvested manually. When the rise of the cost of such labor reached a certain level, necessity being the mother of invention, introduced the cotton gin and the mechanical reaper, and the cost of producing these crops dropped to a resonable level. When the Bracario program was done away with, there were dire predictions that the cost of tomatoes would rise, but this was not the case, as mechancial harvesting was introduced, and efficiencies rose. More tomatoes were planted and harvested than ever before, and with far less labor. This is now occurring in the wine harvest, where mechanical picking is coming into vogue. Eventually, nearly all those crops now harvested by migrant laborers will be harvested using machines. History shows a continuous progression from the backbreaking labor of the shovel, to use of the steam or the now diesel shovel and mechanical trench digger. Persons with few skills and education face certain supercession by progressive introduction of machines. They have no future unless they become educated. Time marches on, but those who fail to march with it are doomed to unemployment and poverty, and dependence on the public welfare system. Accepting such people as citizens will impose a massive tax obligation on the rest of our society, one of the main reasons for opposition to a path to citizenship.

  • webmaster
    July 22, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    If anything good comes out of this law in Arizona, it will show how dependent and connected we all are as workers and consumers as both legal and illegal residents.
    It always surprises me that people think we can create and enforce laws to get rid of the undocumented and then go on living “business as usual” here in the USA. People don’t want to think about how much it will cost to buy lettuce, get a car wash, have a manicure or pedicure, etc. when we don’t have this pool of cheap labor to perform these tasks.

  • Horace
    July 24, 2007 at 10:03 am

    The government eliminated the Bracario program and the tomato farmers said they’d go out of business. This was proven wrong by adaption through the use of more robust tomatoes and mechanized harvesting. We’ll somehow manage without these foreign nationals who arrogantly assert that they are essential to this country after sneaking across the border and using identity fraud to gain employment. No nation on this planet, including Mexico would cave in to the will of an invasion force and surrender its sovereign right to decide the conditions of entry. I often suspect that citizen Hispanics who advocate illegal immigratration have more loyalty to Mexico than this country.
    In my neighborhood, car washes are automated and are unmonitored. The economics of producing lettuce are such that doubling the cost to the farmer only raises the cost by ten cents. Double the wages and Americans will take the jobs. The real cost of produce is the rake-off taken by distributors. People did their own nails for thousands of years before it became an economic enterprise, and they’d manage to do it again, if necessary. I doubt that our nation would fall apart from the necessity of mowing our own lawns, rearing our own children, clipping our own hedges and a lack of the exploitable foreign poor. Would you believe that I mow my own lawn and my wife does her own nails? While exploiting the working poor may be acceptable in Mexico, it is not my idea of the new America. My America is one in which a worker is paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work. Webmaster aparently can’t live without his new serf class. What does his argument say about his character or those who would agree with him?

  • webmaster
    July 24, 2007 at 11:41 am

    This webmaster most certainly can live without those services (nail techs, gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, and so on). I am just not sure that the rest of the people in America can, especially those in Southern California, NYC, Scottsdale, Arizona, etc. If you ever take a trip to Newport Beach or any of the coastal communities in CA, you will see lots of immigrant labor picking up after people who don’t care to do it themselves.
    I support a controlled immigration, a living wage for all workers of the world, and don’t really have any loyalty to Mexico. I was born here in the US to families who settled the Southwest United States. I’m as American as the beans and chile grown in New Mexico.
    We need more than just fair wages in the US, but we need fair wages globally to eliminate the need for people to migrate searching for better lives. Perhaps we should address the large corporations that move their operations to the third world to exploit the labor there. Those large companies are helping to fuel the immigration problem.

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