united farmworkers of america

united farmworkers of america: Page 1

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Stephen Colbert shills for growers, supports bad policy in Congressional appearance (+rightwinger fail) - 09/24/10

Stephen Colbert testified before Congress earlier today and shilled for Big Agriculture and promoted bad, anti-American and anti-Mexican policy. And, the wider issue is also yet another example of failure by the rightwing commentariat, tea parties, and similar groups.

1. Coverage of Colbert's remarks is here and here.

2. Colbert is working with the United Farmworkers of America to promote their anti-American, pro-abuse TakeOurJobs effort. I've already written three posts about that effort, the latest was on Wednesday at that link. The two previous are here and here.

3. From his remarks:

This brief experience [of working on an upstate New York farm for a day] gave me some small understanding of why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as seasonal migrant field worker. So what’s the answer? I’m a free market guy. Normally I would leave this to the invisible hand of the market, but the invisible hand of the market has already moved over 84,000 acres of production and over 22,000 farm jobs over to Mexico and shut down over a million acres of U.S. farm land due to lack of available labor because apparently even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.

...Maybe we could give more visas to the immigrants, who - let’s face it - will probably be doing these jobs anyway. And this improved legal status might allow legal immigrants recourse if they’re abused. And it justs stands to reason to me if your coworker can’t be exploited, then you’re less likely to be exploited yourself. And that itself might improve pay and working conditions on these farms and eventually Americans may consider taking these jobs again.

a. A small number of growers with even more questionable loyalty to the U.S. than usual have indeed moved offshore.

b. The solution to that is to reduce labor costs in socially-acceptable ways; Colbert's solution is the opposite. Labor costs can be reduced through mechanization and the like; Colbert isn't promoting that. Instead, what he's promoting would initially *raise* labor costs (legalization). However, what would happen is that growers would collude with politicians to continue allowing illegal immigration in order to reduce labor costs to their current levels. And, some or many of those newly-legalized laborers would leave the farms for other lines of working, competing with, for instance, American construction workers (unless they were held in a form of indentured servitude). Colbert doesn't realize that growers and the political power they have are a major sticking point to solving the situation. See the immigration wage floor page for a related discussion.

c. In the first paragraph, Colbert's comments seem to suggest that only Mexicans and those from Central America are genetically predisposed to doing farm work. However, that conflicts with the second paragraph in which he says Americans might take those jobs. Why isn't Colbert working to help Americans do those jobs right now? The way to do that is to enforce our immigration laws and reduce the numbers of illegal aliens doing farm work. Colbert himself is admitting that the presence of illegal labor has reduced wages and lowered safety standards. His response is to reward the very people - growers, the politicians they influence, and groups like the UFW - who are responsible for the current situation instead of letting them know who's the boss.

d. The pro-American solution is to support citizen or at least legal labor working for acceptable wages in safe conditions. The bottom line is that Colbert is not supporting that. He's supporting something that would simply lead to a repeat of the current situation.

4. This issue is yet another example of failure by the rightwing commentariat, tea parties, and similar groups. I tried to make Colbert look bad before his appearance, and I got very little help with it; see the links in #2 above. Among other things, I started an online petition which got all of three (3) signatures: act.ly/2f5 I also posted here: freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2595102/posts Note the might-as-well-be-helping-Colbert comments. Colbert's appearance is very establishment-friendly pro-grower propaganda, similar to the crops rotting in the fields propaganda efforts stretching back decades. Those groups showed themselves incapable of striking back against such propaganda. And, most of Colbert's fans appear unable to recognize just whose side Colbert is on.

ADDED:

5. I added the "who are responsible for the current situation" above; hopefully that was clear before.

6. Another place I posted about this before the event was alipac.us/ftopict-213281.html That's the same as the Freerepublic post.

7. The failure by many opponents of illegal immigration who are commenting on this issue continues. See if you can find anyone in this long list who is attempting to show how Colbert is wrong. To compound the problem and as an illustration of how they aren't really serious about blocking amnesty, they're also unwilling to link to this post. Instead, they're engaging in wild conspiracy theories (such as that Colbert's appearance was designed to distract from the contemporaneous DOJ/New Black Panthers hearings) or only discussing the meta of Colbert's appearance.

Ask Stephen Colbert to oppose worker abuse, support American workers (testify before Congress) - 09/22/10

On Friday, TV comedian Stephen Colbert will be testifying before Congress and supporting a plan that runs down American workers and supports worker abuse. Please read the following and then contact him using the means below, asking him to support American workers and oppose worker abuse.

The plan Colbert will be promoting is "TakeOurJobs.com", at which the United Farmworkers of America pretend to seek Americans to take farmworker jobs.

* Colbert's plan is anti-American:
The Colbert/UFW plan is anti-American: it falsely implies that Americans are unwilling and unable to take farmworker jobs. The UFW and Colbert are in effect calling the American worker soft, falsely pretending that only immigrants - specifically, illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America - are willing to do farm work. In fact, somewhere between one-fourth and one-half of U.S. farmworkers are either citizens or legal workers. America sent a man to the moon and won World War II, but according to Stephen Colbert, we're too soft to get some dirt under our fingernails.

Further, millions of Americans are out of work, and Colbert is supporting illegal aliens taking jobs that Americans could and should be doing. Illegal labor depresses wages and reduces workplace conditions; with less illegal labor in the marketplace, more Americans would do farm work.

* Colbert's plan is pro-abuse:
The Colbert/UFW plan also supports worker abuse. Colbert will be testifying with UFW president Arturo Rodriguez who acknowledged that farmworkers "work in often unbearable situations." Why would Stephen Colbert support people working in "unbearable situations"? The reason why growers are able to get away with abusing their workers is due in large part to the fact that they're illegal aliens. If we reduced the number of illegal aliens working in the fields, both wages and working conditions would improve. Legalization isn't the answer because that will just encourage more illegal immigration and growers - addicted to cheap, malleable illegal labor - will push politicians to allow illegal immigration just as they now do.

For longer arguments against the Colbert/UFW plan, see this and this. If you aren't convinced that Stephen Colbert's plan is anti-American and pro-abuse, read those links or leave a comment below and I'll try to change your mind.

* What to do:
Here are some of the things you can do:
1. Send a tweet to @StephenAtHome and let him know you support American workers and oppose worker abuse.
2. Do a search at Twitter for those promoting Colbert's plan, unwittingly or not. Send them a link to this post and suggest they support American workers.
3. Post about this at Facebook.
4. Post about this at forums that are generally supportive of Colbert.
5. Leave a comment on this post I just created at his forum.
6. Sign the Twitter petition here.
7. Tell your friends about this post and encourage them to get involved.

9/23/10 UPDATE: The UFW promotes his appearance (action.ufw.org/page/speakout/Colbert910):

Remember when UFW President Arturo Rodriguez was on the Colbert Show on July 7? Stephen Colbert committed to come work in the fields and take a farm worker’s job. Well he did! And his "Take Our Jobs" episodes will be airing this week... The first episode, where he will interview Congresswoman (Zoe Lofgren, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Immigration) on the need to reform our nation’s broken immigration system is scheduled to air on Wednesday... Then the next day, Thursday, Sept 23, you can see Stephen Colbert as he works in the fields... On Friday... Lofgren... will be holding a Congressional hearing which UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, Stephen Colbert, Phil Glaize, an apple grower from Winchester, VA, will be testifying at entitled "Protecting America’s Harvest."

9/24/10 UPDATE: Here's why Colbert's testimony is wrong.

Mike Thomas of Orlando Sentinel supports exploitation of farm workers to keep prices low (UFW's anti-American takeourjobs) - 07/14/10

Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel offers "If illegal immigrants go, produce prices would skyrocket" (link), a breezy attempt to put a happy face on the United Farmworkers of America's anti-

Juliana Barbassa of AP promotes UFW's anti-American "joke" (yes, Americans do field work) - 06/25/10

Juliana Barbassa of the Associated Press offers "Immigrant farm workers' challenge: Take our jobs" (link) about a new satirical campaign from the United Farmworkers of America. The UFW's campaign is anti-American; if you aren't familiar with this story see the last link. This post only deals with Barbassa's treatment.

She says:

According to the Labor Department, three out of four farm workers were born abroad, and more than half are illegal immigrants.

Apparently Jullianna Barbassa can't do math: that means that one out of four farm workers were born in the U.S., and somewhere between one quarter and one half of them are citizens or legal workers. So, plenty of Americans do in fact do farm work despite the fact that the UFW - and their promoters like Barbassa - would have you think otherwise. Why didn't she point out to them how the very statistics they provide undercut their already-weak argument?

Then, she gets cute:

UFW's anti-American satire: citizens should take illegal aliens' farmworker jobs (Stephen Colbert) - 06/23/10

The United Farmworkers of America are playing a cute, anti-American game (link):

Take Our Jobs - please.

That’s the message from the United Farm Workers union, which is turning the tables on Congress after years of inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.

Through the campaign, United Farm Workers plans to push members of Congress to make a plea to constituents across the country: Put illegal immigrants out of work by working in the fields and packinghouses.

...The campaign “spotlights the immigrant labor issue and underscores the need for reforms without which the domestic agricultural industry could be crippled,” according to a news release from the United Farm Workers.

In their rush to be as anti-American as possible, they've forgotten that vast parts of America are engaged in various forms of farming, with hundreds of thousands of Americans owning or working on farms. They've forgotten about the Okies and all the other non-Mexicans who've worked farms in California and other states. Apparently they think that illegal aliens from Mexico are genetically predisposed to doing farm work. Or, maybe they think that only illegal aliens from Mexico will put up with low safety standards, long hours, and low pay; in that case one wonders why they'd support that situation.

The pro-American alternative is in this open letter to the Center for American Progress that I sent over a year ago. Of course, that would require immigration enforcement first in order to remove the presence of those who UFW founder Cesar Chavez thought of as scabs. And, I'm sure the UFW will support that.

Note that they'll appear on the Stephen Colbert show on July 8; posting comments with a link to this post in their forums might be a good warm-up so his audience knows which side he's on.

Read about CIR ASAP: "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009" (Luis Gutierrez) - 12/11/09

[A DISCUSSION OF SOME OF THE PROVISIONS IS HERE, AND MORE UPDATES ARE BELOW]

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Rep. Luis Gutierrez will introduce an amnesty bill called the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009". His announcement (luisgutierrez.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1406) provides no details, however:

1. Details on the bill will be provided here when it becomes available; expect it to be a bit on the far-left side and expect it to not go very far, except perhaps if it's watered down. In the latter case it might present a problem.
2. The way to deal with things like this is outlined on this page. It's also necessary to deal with those on the conservative/Republican side who'd take a fall; that includes the tea parties or at least their leaders as well as some major bloggers and pundits.
3. Those involved are from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus and include: Nydia Velazquez, Yvette Clarke, Mike Honda, Lynn Woolsey, Judy Chu, Joseph Crowley, Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Jared Polis, Jan Schakowsky, and Jose Serrano.

12/15/09 UPDATE: Per this, Gutierrez claims he has 80 co-sponsors, and his press conference including young people wearing t-shirts saying "Future Voter". Guess which party they'll be voting for. And:

One key Republican who said he was “disappointed” by Gutierrez’s bill is Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Flake’s opposition is important because in past years he has worked with Gutierrez on immigration reform. But because this bill includes a lottery where 100,000 new workers could come in each year for three years, instead of a temporary worker program, Flake said he cannot support it... Flake said the bill “repeatres the mistakes of the ‘86 reform - massive legalzaiton without a temporary worker program to accomodate future labor demands.”

12/15/09 UPDATE 2: Per this:

The 700-page bill... will carry the name of Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, the longest-serving Latino currently in the House and selected by his peers to shepherd the legislation through Congress... The bill would create a Southern Border Security Task Force composed of federal, state and local law enforcement to crack down on crime, increase the number of inspectors at border land ports and provide more training and equipment for Border Patrol agents... It would include a worker verification program and visa reforms that promote family unity and expand those for agriculture-related work.

There's an audio report here; per another page on their site the fee to get on the "path to citizenship" is $500.

Among those cheering the bill are:
* UFW Foundation Director Diana Tellefson "said her group and agricultural employers backed the bill" (last link; that group is associated with the United Farmworkers of America).
* Rep. Sam Farr of California; he notes that the bill includes AgJOBS, the DREAM Act, and his "Proud to be an American Citizen Act" (link).
* Proud former MEChA member Rep. Raul Grijalva (link).
* The AFL CIO, which says that it includes the following from their "joint framework for immigration reform" (link):

- An inclusive and effective solution that allows a path for undocumented immigrants to come forward and regularize their status. Trumka says “this is fundamental to our ability to crack down on employers who are using unauthorized workers to drive down wages and other standards.”
- An independent commission to assess and manage future flow of immigrants, based on labor market shortages that are determined on the basis of actual need.
- Reform, not expansion of existing temporary worker programs immediately to stop the exploitation of workers and safeguard standards in impacted industries.

* The Service Employees International Union (link).
* Amnesty International USA (link)

12/15/09 UPDATE 3: Per this:

A draft overview of the bill, circulated with the letter, ends some enforcement tools such as the 287(g) local police cooperation program, calls for an electronic verification system to replace the voluntary E-verify program, argues that there's no need for more U.S. Border Patrol agents or fencing, and establishes a long-term path to citizenship for illegal immigrants... That path would require illegal immigrants to pay a $500 fine, pass a background check and learn English and civics to gain legal status. After six years, they could apply for legal permanent residence, or a green card, which is the interim step to citizenship. There is no "touchback" provision requiring them to return to their home countries at some point in the process.

They also quote someone who I stumped four years ago:

"Of course [the high unemployment rate] complicates [the push for amnesty]. Of course the public's first reaction is understandable, it's why do we need more workers when upwards of 15 million Americans are out of work," said Tamar Jacoby, president and chief executive officer of ImmigrationWorks USA, a coalition of businesses pushing for immigration reform... But she said history has shown that there are some jobs that American workers won't take and immigrant workers will... She pointed to resort communities in Michigan that struggled to find workers this summer even though they were just a couple of counties away from Detroit, which has been devastated by layoffs... "Laid-off autoworkers in Detroit don't want to travel across the state, let alone across the country, to pick pears, pick apples," she said.

The example she provides is the same as that recently used by America's Voice.

12/15/09 UPDATE 4: I take a look at some of the provisions here; they're as bad as you'd expect.

12/21/09 UPDATE 5: There's an interview with Brian Bilbray about the bill here.

Night of 1,000 Conversations (including 900 Useful Idiots) - 03/23/07

The "Rights Working Group" is trying to organize Moveon-style house parties throughout the U.S. on Thursday, April 5, 2007, supposedly to support due process in our immigration system. In fact, it appears to be a backdoor way to promote immigration "reform", aka a massive amnesty. And, some of the organizers lined up are linked to the Mexican government. Details here: rightsworkinggroup.org/?q=ConversationNight

Their "one-pager" (http://65.36.162.162/files/Night_of_1000_Convo_OnePager.pdf ; actually a two pager) includes a blurb from the Washington Post propaganda piece "Deporting a Model Noncitizen" by Marc Fisher (link). Some of the things Fisher forgot to cover are listed in a long comment from J. Scott here.

Their talking points are here: 65.36.162.162/files/NOTC_Toolkit_040507.pdf While they suggest steering the conversation away from immigration matters and back to due process if the former proves too contentious, it's clear that their main goals are supporting amnesty, anchor babies, catch and release, and all the other factors leading to massive legal and illegal immigration.

Their local affiliates are listed in the extended entry. Those with "LTM" have some sort of link to the Mexican government.

1. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (Washington, DC) - Laila Al-Qatami
2. Arab American Institute (Washington, DC) - Valerie Smith
3. Asian American Justice Center (Washington, DC) - Pang Houa Moua
4. Breakthrough: Building a Human Rights Culture (NY) - Carly Castania-Fox
5. Center for Intercultural Organizing (OR) - Kayse Jama
LTM
6. Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (AZ) - Kat Rodriguez
LTM (alleged)
7. Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) - Sara Sadhwani
8. Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (Chicago, IL) - Khemarey Nuth
9. Desis Rising Up and Moving (NY) - Monami Maulik
10. Florida Immigrant Advocacy Coalition (FL) - Maria Rodriguez
11. Hate Free Zone (WA) - Hari Kondabolu
12. Idaho Community Action Network (ID) - Leo Morales
LTM 13. Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (IL) - Mehrdad Azemun
14. National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (CA) - Juhyung Lee
15. National Network for Arab American Communities (MI) - Nadia El-Zein
16. National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (CA) - Arnoldo Garcia
17. New York Immigration Coalition (NY) - Avideh Moussavian
18. Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PA) - Regan Cooper
19. South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (MD) - Deepa Iyer
20. Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TN) - Stephen Fotopulos
21. United Farm Workers Foundation (CA) - Oscar Gonzalez
22. University of New Mexico, School of Law - ACLU Student Chapter - Pamela Hernandez (Albuquerque, NM)

Coalition vows to defeat harsh immigration bill [HR 4437] - 01/20/06

From this:
A U.S. coalition of business, labor unions and religious groups launched a campaign on Thursday to defeat a bill backed by Republicans that would turn some 11 million illegal immigrants into felons.

The coalition of 24 organizations, many of which rarely agree on politics or economics, denounced the bill passed by the House of Representatives last month and called on the Senate to enact legislation to include a guest worker program and a path for illegal aliens to gain legal status.

..."We are extremely disappointed with the proposal that passed the House last month," said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which represents some 3 million businesses...

...Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, which has 1.8 million members, called for comprehensive reform to take control of the border and provided a way for illegal aliens to gain legal status...

...Other groups joining the coalition include associations representing builders and contractors, health care providers, the hotel and restaurant industries, Latino organizations, farm workers, the American Jewish Committee and Catholic bishops...
So far I haven't been able to find out the name or URL of this organization, but if you know please leave a comment.

And, see this remarkably similar page... from April 21, 2004:
Today, a remarkable alliance of business, labor, religious, ethnic, and immigrant advocacy groups ran a full-page ad in Roll Call, the newspaper of Congress, signaling their support for comprehensive immigration reform... [the groups were:]

*Business: American Health Care Association; American Hotel and Lodging Association; American Nursery and Landscape Association; International Franchise Association; National Council of Chain Restaurants; National Restaurant Association; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

*Labor: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO); Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union; Laborers’ International Union of North America; Service Employees International Union; UNITE! (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees); United Farmworkers of America; and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

*Religious: American Jewish Committee; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

*Ethnic: Hispanic Alliance for Progress; The Latino Coalition; League of United Latin American Citizens; Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and the National Council of La Raza.

*Immigrant Advocacy: American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Forum.

Jon Vessey, crops rotting in the fields, and pro-illegal immigration propaganda - 12/05/05

Jon Vessey is a California grower who's been quoted in a few recent articles about how crops will rot in the fields unless growers get more cheap labor to pick it. (UPDATE: see crops rotting in the fields).

On 11/21, the WaPo featured him in "Shortage of Immigrant Workers Alarms Growers in West" (link), and today the Los Angeles Times features him in "Picking a Battle Over Shortage of Farmworkers" (link). And, he was apparently also featured saying similar things in Copley News Service and USA Today. And, the CSM article (link) I discussed in "America's produce industry is facing a crisis" featured another member of the Vessey clan.

However, there appears to be quite a bit more to this story: Jon Vessey is on the Board of Directors of the Western Growers Association (source, cache). And, various Vesseys have been quote sources for decades (PDF file).

And, neither the LAT, nor the WaPo, nor the CSM noted this rather important connection. In fact, here's how the WaPo handled it:
"Today I have approximately 290 people working in the field," Jon Vessey said recently. Vessey runs an 8,000-acre winter vegetable farm with his son, Jack, near El Centro, Calif. "I should have 400, and for the harvest I need 1,100. . . . There's a disaster coming."

The Western Growers Association, which represents 3,000 farmers, is lobbying the Bush administration to make it easier for farmers to tap the labor pool just below the border.
I guess they meant to mention that there's a link between the two paragraphs, but an editor took that out. Or something like that.

Note also that left-wing bloggers fell for this too: here (washingtonmonthly. com/archives/individual/2005_12/007700.php), here (washingtonmonthly. com/archives/individual/2005_11/007643.php), here (brothersjudd. com/blog/archives/2005/12/calling_all_nat.html).

Contact the CSM here, and send emails to these: readers.Rep *at* latimes.com and ombudsman * at* washpost.com.

UPDATE: A commentor at the first PA thread says this unverified bit:
It's going back to 1982, but a leopard does not change its spots. Jon Vessey is the CEO of Vessey & Co. which lost a case in that year filed by the UFW. The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) found that the respondents (Vessey, Maggio, ...) had bargained in bad faith with the union regarding the contract for lettuce pickers. Remember the iceberg lettuce boycott? The findings of the ALRB are available [in this PDF file].

Just 30 people set federal policy - 06/29/04

Imagine, if you will, a group of thirty people. Five groups of six people each will do. Keep that image in your mind:

With agents clad in dark riot gear looking on, about 30 activists gathered outside the Border Patrol station in Temecula on Monday to protest recent immigration sweeps in Southern California.

Meanwhile, thousands of U.S. citizens have phoned and emailed the DHS and other agencies in support of the sweeps. Yet, somehow, the illegal-alien-supporters win out. Odd, no?

Perhaps it's because those in Washington are afraid being called names:

"We're organized and we're ready to fight this Gestapo-style movement," said Joe Mota, who represented the United Farm Workers at the demonstration.

(BTW, BugMeNot.com is a great resource)