Workforce in Jeopardy

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Russ, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Russ

    Russ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 540

    This just in from the INLA

    Future of nursery and landscape industry workforce is in jeopardy!
    Contact your Senators now!!

    On the heels of the House of Representatives passing an "enforcement only" bill, placing much of the workforce of the nursery and landscape industry in serious jeopardy, the U.S. Senate has begun debate on its own version of immigration reform. The nursery and landscape industry's message to the U.S. Senate needs to be crystal clear: Pass comprehensive immigration reform that allows us access to a legal workforce.

    The status quo will not work. The anti-immigration movement believes that there are plenty of American workers willing to dig rootballs and cut grass, if only employers would raise wages. They ignore the demographic reality that our population is aging, growth in the young workforce is declining, young workers are increasingly educated and disinterested in some jobs and major worker shortages are forecast especially for seasonal and less skilled positions. Congress cannot continue to turn its back on this reality without causing serious damage to America's agricultural and service economy!

    Much work needs to be done in a short amount of time in order to continue building support for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. The Senate must pass a good bill that secures our borders with a fair guest worker plan and a sensible solution for the undocumented workers already in the United States, as well as enforcement measures.

    The situation is dire, and ANLA is sounding the alarm. Every green industry member – regardless of how much you are affected by this issue today – needs to contact your two Senators now to urge a comprehensive approach to solving the illegal immigration problem, and one that also recognizes the unique needs of the agriculture sector, including nursery, greenhouse, and Christmas tree production.



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    Senator (NAME)

    Washington, DC 20510

    Dear Senator:

    As a small business owner in the nursery and landscape industry, I write to urge you and the full Senate to take a full and fair comprehensive approach to immigration reform. I share the concern of most Americans that we are living in a society with a broken immigration system. Yet, I think most understand that immigrant workers are a good and necessary part of our economy. It is dismaying to hear that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a very anti-employer enforcement-only approach to deal with our broken system. If passed into law, this will be disastrous for American business as well as the competitiveness of our nation's economy.

    A true solution will require that any border and enforcement effort is paired with a workable seasonal and temporary worker program, along with a realistic approach to dealing with trained and trusted workers who are living and working in the U.S. but lack proper status.

    To keep our economy running, businesses need access to a legal, reliable labor force. Industries such as farming and landscaping have many seasonal and lower-skill jobs that are shunned by most Americans. The present system provides few options for these essential workers. Congress' failure to provide workable systems has encouraged illegal entry. From an employer's perspective, we walk a tightrope to meet our legal requirements when hiring, while avoiding discrimination. Now, there are millions of trained and trusted workers who are contributing to our society but lack a legal status. These workers are employed in agriculture, the hospitality and restaurant industry, health care, day care, construction, and other trades. Every American enjoys the benefits of their work.

    Any approach that ignores the important role of immigrants in this country is not in the interest of the country. Enforcement alone, or enforcement first, would devastate our economy. It is shocking that Congress would even conceive of advancing a piecemeal solution that will turn farmers into felons, business owners into villains, and create a culture of suspicion and fear.

    Any bill that Congress sends to the President's desk must include three essential elements: (1) measures that will improve our national security through better enforcement of the borders; (2) efficient temporary worker programs that allow employers to recruit workers from outside the U.S. for jobs that are shunned by Americans; and, (3) a way to earn a legal status for trained and trusted workers who are otherwise obeying our laws and contributing to our society. Targeted bills such as AgJOBS (S.359 and H.R.884), and comprehensive bills such as McCain-Kennedy/Flake-Kolbe-Gutierrez and Hagel, offer approaches to accomplish these three goals.

    We've heard enough of the rhetoric. It's time for Congress, with the Senate's leadership, to push forward a sensible solution. The American people deserve nothing less.
  2. Lucky1

    Lucky1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 198

    Quick solution to your problem, hire US citizens, quite easy, just pay them. All employers caught hiring illegals should just be jailed end of problem. Present system no more than modern slavery, kinda like Wal_Mart.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    While I agree with Lucky that it would be nice to hire Americans, the reality in my area has nothing to do with pay. The foreign workers get paid just as well. The problem is that there are a bunch of fat lazy people who expect a pay check without working hard. There are junkies, pot heads, and drunks that will miss every third day until they decide not to come in to hear you bitc* them out about it. When you up the wage, the only difference in reality is that you pay more for the same people.

    I'm not saying that all American laborers are that way. I am saying that at least some communities don't have able bodied young Americans that are willing to work in heat, dirt, rain, or cold when they can talk to pretty young girls while they work at a kiosk in the mall doing yoyo demonstrations instead. I don't blame them. They get laid off in the winter and usually try a new employer out the next year, so they never stay long enough to get benefits.

    Another thing to understand is that most of the guys on this site are those young able bodied guys willing to work for a living. But instead of working for someone else on this site, you decided to work for yourself. Now we can't hire you or anyone else like you. Who are we left with? In my neighborhood it is mostly Brazilians and Jamaicans for foreign year'round workers, Irish and former Soviet Block countymen for seasonal workers, or the lowest of the low of American guys. The Brazilians and Jamaicans show up every day.

    These are foreign H2B workers and J1 workers that I'm talking about, not illegal aliens. There are certainly illegal aliens around also, but I'm totally against hiring them.

    I'm sure hiring American is easy in some parts of the country. It is not in others.
  4. OutdoorExtras

    OutdoorExtras LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    :rolleyes: Employers find reliable people willing to pump the Sh#t out of ports Johns.

    The pay is definitely the deciding factor on finding reliable Americans to work. Raise wages and employee retention will go up.
    Cheap labor leads to lower overall costs which either leads to higher profit margins or lower costs for the consumer. Unfortunately in most cases for those of us in landscaping the consumer is the one seeing the benefits.
  5. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I hope they seal the boarders and send all the illegals home. I hope they build a big wall too.

    Oh wait... There just taking the jobs americans won't do. Stealing the cars americans won't steal. Selling the drugs, the americans won't sell.

  6. Russ

    Russ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 540

    Thanks! Well thought out reply. I can see that you do a lot of hiring of diverse cultures. How do you recognized a US citizen? Is his name Joe instead of Jose? Does he speak without an accent? Just because he has a Green Card, Birth certificate, drivers license, utility bill, ect. doesn't mean he is legal.

  7. down size

    down size LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 78

    It would be nice to find good American people to work but most of them live with their parents and it's too easy to ask mom and dad for money than to have to work hard for it. I have tried raising wages to keep help either they don't show up every day or they just quit. Now I have my daughter that works part time and also works a full time job. It shows that if you teach good work ethics you end up with good workers. That's the reason in my area most of the workers are hispanic because mom and dad were'nt able to give them everything they wanted. When I grew up I was raised on farm and you didn't work you didn't eat, that's just the way life was.
  8. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 642

    i like mexicans, even though they just stole my part-time paint job in the winter..oh-no wait they where brazilians.
  9. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    What high rates of pay are you hiring your eager American laborers at?
  10. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    That's right because I can't find anyone at $15 an hour to use a shovel other than my geen card guys. A bi-lingual work force is a fact of life. Over $30,000 a year to run a wheelbarrow won't get me that kid out of high school. How high should I go to hire that non-existent capable and willing young born in the US worker?

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