Thursday, August 17, 2006

Migrant worries

The weather up in Wisconsin has been dryer than normal this year. Consequently, crops aren't yielding as much as usual. This generally concerns migrants because small yields mean less work and, by extension, less money. This does not only affect migrants who work out in the fields, it also affects migrants working in canning plants. Locally, the canneries have been giving a lot of off time to their workers. The night shifts are hardly getting any hours. The good and the bad of it all is that many of the people working have contracts. So, the canneries have tough choices to make. If they cancel the season, they would basically be throwing away money on contract buyouts to the workers and farmers. If they run at full speed, they would only run a few days a week until they got more product shipped in to run another shift. Or, what they are doing is running slow to stretch out the work hours. This way, they are getting production out of workers who would otherwise be paid to sit around. This also allows them to stay in sync with the incoming shipments of raw product. There are a few migrants who are here without contracts. There is some concern amongst all migrants that the season won't last until October. This also affects the organization where I work because, without migrants, there is no need for a Head Start. There is a possibility that if the local canneries pull up stakes for the season, that our season will be cut short as well.

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