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Thread: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

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    Angry Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    This piece is strictly commentary. It has made me angry because it's an excuse IMO, for not paying people what their work is worth. How about instead of saying Americans are too entitled, that we say illegals are very desperate? How about if we raise the wage so that whoever picks strawberries or lettuce, can afford to do so. I am SO tired of hearing this rhetoric! There's a reason Americans won't take these jobs- it doesn't pay our bills! How about we fault the employers for being cheap? Your comments??


    Commentary: U.S. workers will pick that lettuce -- for $1,000 a week


    Ruben Navarrette Jr.
    Special to CNN



    Fresno, CALIFORNIA (CNN) -- There is nothing like coming home, and I got the chance to do that today thanks to an invitation to join in a lunch forum hosted by the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at California State University, Fresno, which sets out to train new leaders.


    I like the sound of that. We need new leaders. Just look at the recent shoving match over immigration reform, which happens to be the topic that we'll be discussing over lunch. I'm told that many in the audience will have some connection to agriculture.
    Big surprise. Everyone in Fresno is connected to agriculture, whether they realize it or not. That's the whole point. While many Americans tell themselves that they don't benefit in the least from illegal immigration, my friends in the San Joaquin Valley don't have that luxury. They're up to their necks in benefit. Oh, there are costs, too -- to schools, hospitals, jails, etc. But, after it's all said and done, Fresno and other agri-cities come out way ahead.
    How do I know? Because they're not exactly asking illegal immigrants to leave. In fact, farm groups were part of the chorus calling for comprehensive immigration reform, including a call for new shipments of guest workers. That's because they know that without immigrant labor -- legal if can be, illegal if must be -- my beloved hometown would shrivel up like a raisin in the sun.
    While you're just as likely to find illegal immigrants working on construction sites, or making beds in hotels, or cooking up breakfast in the local diner, many of them still gravitate to farms and ranches. And it's a good thing they do, farmers and ranchers say, because these are not jobs that Americans want.


    Consider the strawberry farmer in Oxnard, California, who told CNN that not once in 25 years of planting and harvesting had an American citizen ever asked for a job picking strawberries.
    Immigration restrictionists claim that Americans would line up for even the dirtiest and most distasteful jobs if only wages were higher. How much higher? A reader told me that he'd gladly go pick lettuce around Salinas, California -- for $1,000 a week.
    I can't wait to share that story with the farmers. I hope they don't cough up their Caesar salads. It's not just that, at those wages, lettuce pickers would earn more than many cops and firefighters, nurses and teachers. Or that salads would cost as much as caviar.
    What I find interesting is that the reader -- as a proud American worker -- didn't hesitate to make the demand and, in fact, he felt that earning any less would be beneath him. And we're surprised that many farmers and ranchers -- and countless other employers -- prefer to hire immigrants and rarely give those of us born in the country a second look.
    It's not just the money. It's our sense of entitlement. And for what -- all the effort we put into being born on this side of the border?
    Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune and a nationally syndicated columnist. You can read his column here.
    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.







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    Not just a sheeple nvalleyvee's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    I've said that forever. Give a fair living wage to adults who have children to support. The problem has been to pay teenager wages to people who have to support a family. It seems that paying this living wage drives up the cost of consumer goods and the middle class gets angry. There are plenty of high school educated people in this country - with no marketable skills - who think they deserve to live middle class. That is bull.
    The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement..........Karl R. Popper

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    Senior Member KB.'s Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    Most Americans won't do the work, regardless of pay. This isn't our grandparent's depression era America, and if it ever happens again this country won't survive it.
    Life ain't linear.

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    Senior Member guppy's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    yea i was gonna say i run a roofing business and pay really well..way above other wages in this area...do i have white guys>??????????? huh....not a one....white men dont jump and apparently white men dont sweat either...
    and i agree with you kb..next depression alot of people are gonna suffer...esp the welfare...and the mentally ill...and the trust babies....the working class will make it...who exactly that is anymore is in question ....

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    Senior Member Patsy Warnick's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    KB
    your so right
    As I grew up in a family of 6 kids, with a Father who went thru the depression, I hated summers, we worked all summer. I berry picked - bean picked, (means you caught a old old delapitated school bus that carted you out to a field to harvest whatever.) I was very short @ 8yrs old so my sisters held me up to meet height requirements. To be paid by the flat or bushel, you had a punch card which didn't equate to much. We worked all summer pulled our money together as a family, which would be applied to school clothes - dental work - eye glasses etc..

    So, would I do that sort of work today - NO - do familys pull together like that now - NO
    did I have a choice then - NO, but all those summers of working and my friends were playing - well lets just say, I'm a better person for it.. Thanks DAD..

    I think everyone should experience a down to earth labor job.
    Farmers can't pay much due to all the high costs to them - we're already paying @ $1.00 for a head of lettuce.. I don't know what the remedy would be..

    Patsy

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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    Physical labor jobs are great for building character, and good for health as well. We really were meant to work outdoors for most of the day, not chained to a desk.
    Completing an assigned task that requires physical labor, teaches patience, and feelings of accomplishment. Physical labor makes a person hungry, and tired at the end of the day. I think its great. I do however have a very difficult time finding workers who feel the way I do, despite the fact that I also pay very well. I guess I really over pay, because if truth be told, I party do it as an incentive to get someone to do the work. If we ever do have a depression again, many people who never would have worked physically will be forced to do so.

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    Senior Member Accountable's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    I agree with Weeder. When I was out looking for work, I got a temp gig with a cabinet installing company (5 guys). It helped me keep my sanity while I found a "real" job. The work was hard and physical, and the beer tasted better at the end of the day.

    Now that I have a desk job, I still work most Saturdays installing cabinets. The guys call me Perfesser and don't understand when I tell them I don't need the money. I work there for the exercise, commaraderie, and the chance to work with my hands.

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    Senior Member Indian Princess's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    We all put our pants on one leg at a time, etc, you get the meaning

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    Senior Member Sweet Tooth's Avatar
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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

    I don't think that people should get paid more if they have more kids! It is NOT the employer's job to provide for families! If you can't afford to provide for your family, maybe you should think twice before having kids! Physical labor is what you get when you don't go to college or get some sort of training- you aren't entitled to a desk job just because you are a legal citizen! I think you should get paid only for the labor you do- illegal or citizen.

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    Re: Americans: too proud to do grunt work?

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    I think labor jobs ought to have more respect than they do. There's a reason YOU don't want to have one- because it's damned hard work! This idea that only morons take these jobs and don't "deserve" anything better is making me angry. Let's see some of these high faluting desk types bent over all day in the sun in the fields or on ladders picking fruit off trees. Sure a monkey could do it but have some respect for the back breaking work it is. Not all of it is done by machinery.

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