Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grass Roots Activist Takes On Tim Bee over rotting Yuma Lettuce

Senator Tim Bee, President Arizona Senate

I am one confused individual and am hoping you can explain some things to me.

This all relates to SB1482.

A grower in Yuma needed some pickers. He supposedly was unable to find local workers and made arrangements with a broker to hire workers from Mexico.

The broker applied for and received a number of work visas and brought in a crew legally.

In December of 2007 the local farm workers union brought suit against the broker for taking the work that union members could have done and giving it to legally entered workers.

Now I see that there is a bill in the AZ Senate to establish an Arizona temporary worker program. Will this bring suits against the State of Arizona from the farm union?

It seemed to me that this bill was duplicating a Federal program that was already in place and functioning. So I contacted legislators to ask why we need this.

One response that I got from a legislator said: The program is needed in Arizona because workers are needed in industries where American workers are not available (i.e.., picking chilies or lettuce, stuccoing new buildings, roofing in Phoenix at 120 degrees). The article you read was about a federal visa for agricultural workers only. There is a shortage in the Arizona available work force in several industries, including agriculture.

I have looked at the sponsors and it appears to me that most of the sponsors are from geographic areas that have mostly agriculture opportunities for temporary workers. And stuccoing and roofing of new buildings have pretty much ground to a halt in this state.

Since agricultural work is covered by a functioning Federal program, then why not eliminate the agricultural provisions of the proposed Arizona program?

There are over 18 million illegal aliens in this country now.

Go look on the streets of Metropolitan Phoenix and count how many are hanging out and flagging passing cars. Multiply that by 4 for how many there are hanging out on the streets in Orange County, CA.

Yet the growers cannot find picking crews.

Why? Because agriculture work is not something illegal aliens are willing to accept, unless forced to through a Federal guest worker program that span’s state boundaries so that the workers can be migratory.

To bring in additional workers, who will quickly jump ship to find more desireable work and disappear to the interior will only compound the problem.

Tim Richardson

McNeal, AZ 85617 tmrich@vtc.net

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