According to this article, the fruit industry in washington state is in trouble because of immigration crackdowns. It’s getting to the point where farmers are offering *gasp* halfway decent wages for pickers! In some spots, the pay is still hovering around minimum wage with little to no housing provided. Other farms are going as high as $30/bin (totaling incentive pay) and adding housing to the mix.
I find this part of the article interesting:
“The governor returned home Friday after leading a 15-member delegation of farm group representatives to the nation’s capital. They urged members of Congress to oppose a Republican bill that would force employers to use a federal database called E-Verify to determine whether their employees are eligible to work in the United States. Gregoire criticized anti-illegal-immigration rhetoric prevalent in Washington, D.C., saying Congress should instead be focused on ways to get more foreign workers to help with harvesting.”
This bothers me for two reasons:
1) It confirms, in my opinion, that the unstated reason wages for picking are going up is because farmers know they have to make it worthwhile for WHITE PEOPLE to do this job.
2) By asking Congress to bring in more foreign workers, I believe Gregoire is saying, in that coded way white people do when we talk about race, that our lawmakers should know by now that “certain (white) folks” are just not going to do some jobs.