Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blog 16: The New Industrial Migrants


In the first segment of the reading, Eric Schlosser talks about the jobs in the meatpacking industry. He tells us that once upon a time the wages in this industry were enough to mantain a middle-class lifestyle, but not anymore. A plant in Colorado pays today more than a third less than what they used to pay forty years ago --taking into consideration the inflation rates of course--. The wages in the industry are currently only a little higher than poverty levels and this is the reason why only immigrants, mostly from Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia would take the jobs they offer.

Schlosser also claims that benefits like health insurance and vacations are almost non existant in this industry, given that the majority of the workers don't stay in their jobs the time required in order to receive this benefits, which translate in more profit for the meatpacking companies by not having to pay benefits. Also another advantage for the companies is that by having a constantly changing workforce, is almost impossible for the workers to organize a union and therefore they are easier to control.


In the second excerpt Schlosser tells us abot the strategies used by the meatpacking companies to recruit the workers they need in order to renew their workforce. He also shows us how the meatpacking companies claim to be against hiring undocumented workers, but yet most of their workforce is composed by them. The main target of this meatpacking corporations are the poor communities, the people who are in serious need and are willing to take any job, and work for really low salaries.

 Schlosser also tells an incredible story in which one of this corporations sent a recruiter near to the mexican border to convince some workers to work for them, their plan was to take them to Minnesotta and bribe the people in charge of a homeless shelter to provide them housing. Fortunately the shelter didn't agree and also the workers refused to live there.

1 comment:

  1. Super well summarized. I can't wait for your reaction...:-)