I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Jungle and Immigration

This post has been moved up from the weekend.

The battle over the Immigration Bill continues. It is seen as a war of us against them. Many in the Republican base think the 'them' are the hoards of brown skinned men, women and children form Central America - they are wrong. The 'us' is the American middle class and the 'them' are the feudal corporate overlords who wish to destroy the American middle class. Now they have shipped nearly every job they can off to third world countries to avoid paying a decent wage and to escape those inconvenient safety laws. There are some jobs that just can't be outsourced like the ones at the Del Monte plant in North Portland that was raided last week. Nine out of ten of the workers supplied to Del Monte by American Staffing Resources was illegal. I for one cannot believe that Del Monte management was not aware of this but they are the 'real' criminals here but will go unpunished. The Del Monte raid gives us even more insight as to why corporations are willing to hire illegals - working conditions and worker safety. The description of the North Portland Del Monte plant reads like something out of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
Immigration raid highlights unsafe food plant conditions
An immigration raid at a food processing plant that left 167 workers facing possible deportation also highlighted unsafe working conditions that already had been the target of a state investigation and a successful lawsuit by workers, officials said Wednesday.

The federal raid at the Fresh Del Monte Produce Co. plant near the Portland shipyards on Tuesday came after state regulators had opened a pair of new investigations into conditions facing mostly illegal workers who process fruits and vegetables.

Kevin Weeks, spokesman for Oregon OSHA, said the state investigation began after the complaints were received on May 14, and was followed by a random inspection on June 7 that generated a second investigation.

The Jungle
Among the observations of the federal undercover informant at the Fresh Del Monte plant listed in the affidavit:

-- Electrical extension cords were submerged in standing water, supervisors were not diligent about the cleanliness of vegetables before boxing for shipment, and the employee bathroom and cafeteria were "extremely dirty" and not cleaned on a regular basis.

-- There were about 3 inches of cold water on the production area floor, where most workers wore sneakers or shoes even though they were supposed to be provided with boots.

-- Workers were not paid overtime for the extra time it takes to return all the production equipment after a shift.
If you really want to end illegal immigration then you jail the executives of both Del Monte and American Staffing. A few Hispanic mangers at American Staffing were arrested but not the executives of American Staffing or Del Monte that had to know what was going on.

The Gun Toting Liberal discusses this issue and asks a very good question: Where are the REAL liberals when you need them.

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