Leisure Industry Considers New Idea (For It)—Hiring Americans!
For most Americans,
cherry blossoms, warmer days and longer nights mark spring`s
In the patriotic immigration reform movement, however, we
know spring is here when the
Chamber of Commerce and small businesses start to whine
about the lack of seasonal workers and the
urgent need to issue more
After a while—like ten years—this becomes comically boring to
read about. None of it ever comes true.
But as indicated by a recent New York Times story
(originally introduced to you by
Brenda Walker in her blog
here), the Main Stream Media never finds it too tedious to
Face Cut In Immigrant Work Force, By Katie Zezima,
New York Times, March 14, 2008]
Interestingly, Zezima`s Times story takes us back to
Cape Cod, the scene of two 2004 columns I wrote debunking the
claim that no visas equals no boiled lobsters. Read them
here. (And hear Patti Page sing “Old Cape Cod”
In those columns, I also uncovered the leisure industry`s
feeble effort to find local workers to fill the jobs.
Unsurprisingly, little has changed. All predict doom and
gloom. One difference of note is that Times journalism
has hit a new low by relying heavily and without attribution on
a similar story written by
The Enterprise of Cape Cod titled
Cape Braces For Effects Of Immigration Impasse.
[Google cache version`] By Laura M. Reckford, Feb 15, 2008.
What`s most amazing about employers who plead “We can`t
find any workers” is that, no matter what skeptics like me
propose, our solutions are always out of the question.
Look at Cape Cod as a case in point case.
- If I propose
hiring teenagers, possibly deserving kids from inner
Boston, restaurateurs counter that they aren`t old enough to
- How about
college students, I ask? No good, they have to return to
school in August, the season`s peak.
- Have residents from the greater
New England area been solicited? Sounds possible but
there`s a housing shortage on the Cape. Where would they
retirees? If only…the problem is that senior citizens,
so the story goes, aren`t looking for work and table waiting
is too physically demanding.
Get it—the only answer to making sure tourists have an
abundant supply of lobster rolls this summer is—to issue more
This is truly laughable, of course—especially to someone like
me, who has actually owned and operated restaurants.
- Those teenagers—they can easily do
kitchen prep, bus tables and serve meals. Let the
21-year-olds mix cocktails. Read these two accounts from
VDARE.COM readers who remember in the 1980s and 1990s
seeing teenagers work on the Cape at all sorts of odd jobs.
- And not all college kids go back in
August. Some can`t afford to finish college in four years
without taking time off to work. Many, lured by the good
tips they are certain to make, might be happy to stay on
Labor Day. (On a good weekend night, the waiters and
bartenders in my Seattle establishments walked away with
$200 in tips—twenty years ago.)
- If Cape Cod has a
shortage of affordable housing, and it probably does,
let the (American) employees double or triple up, a common
practice for resort workers. And anyway, where did last
year`s H-2B visa holders live?
- No one single retiree is looking to
supplement his income in this economy? That`s hard to
believe! And as for the suggestion that hotel and restaurant
work is “too physical,” that insult smacks of ageism.
What restaurant owners need to do is use the same creativity
they apply in menu preparation or devising
special promotional gimmicks to finding American workers.
But since enough H-2B visas to satisfy the cheap labor crowd
will not be available this year, a glimmer of hope shines
through. We can thank, ironically, the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Because returning foreign-born workers were exempt from a cap
established in 2005 when Congress passed the
Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act that President
George W. Bush signed, employers could depend the same labor
force from one season to the next.
A one-year extension to the original act expired on September
Hispanic Caucus and its
pro-open borders Congressional sympathizers
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have blocked voting on another
extension that would continue to allow employers to rehire
foreign seasonal nonagricultural workers independent of the
Pelosi and the Hispanic Caucus have made visas for seasonal
workers a bargaining chip in their battle for “comprehensive
They figure that putting the squeeze on small businesses will
dry up the cheap labor pool and that, therefore, the pressure
for more guest worker programs, amnesty and the inevitable “path
to citizenship” will be intense.
The bottom line: “only” 33,000 visas for summer
workers and an equal number for winter workers, about half
120,000 granted last year.
Cape Cod will receive only 15 of the five thousand visas it
Cape Cod employers and other nearby businesses, facing the
likelihood that they will be unable to get sufficient H-2B visa
holders into the country, are doing what they should have done
long ago—look hard for Americans who live in their own backyard.
The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the
Cape and Islands Workforce Investment Board have organized
job fairs on April 10th in Westport and April 14th
in Hyannis, hoping to find willing workers from the New Bedford
and Fall River areas, where unemployment rates are higher than
the national average.
(Interestingly, the fairs will stress the value of senior
Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development will
fund an outreach effort, including newspaper and radio
advertising, to raise awareness of the events.
Even the Chamber of Commerce (gasp!) is optimistic. Said
Wendy Northcross, chief executive officer (e-mail)
Cape Cod office: "We hope that our H-2B dependent
employers will be able to fill slots with folks from these
Cape Businesses Target South Coast Workers, by
Sarah Shemkus, Cape Cod Times, March 26, 2008]
With luck, this summer, deserving Americans will serve you.
But whether they do or not, you can be sure of one thing. If
you want to holiday on Cape Cod and have the money to do it, you
won`t be turned away from any restaurant or hotel unless other
vacationers have beaten you to it.
I fearlessly base my prediction on the fact that despite a
decade of crying wolf not one single establishment in Cape Cod
or anywhere else has shut its doors.
And I`ll repeat my
2004 suggestion that to build good will, summer businesses
on Cape Cod and other resort communities should advertise:
“SERVICE PROVIDED BY All-AMERICAN KIDS WORKING TO EARN MONEY TO
BUILD FOR THEIR FUTURE.”
Except, of course, that it`s our future too.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail
him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor.
In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has
a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive