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A Thai dessert for Zirkle Fruit?
A reader points out that Zirkle Fruit, the illegal immigrant employer and RICO case loser chronicled by Joe Guzzardi on Friday, was involved in an ingenious stratagem last year to find a legal way to undercut the local labor market: importing Thai farm workers under H-2A Visas. [New state import: Thai farmworkers By Lornet Turnbull The Seattle Times Febuary20 2005 Access requires free registration].
Employers are turning to Thais to solve a ghastly problem:
Growers also say many local workers "cherry pick" the orchards for the best jobs and pay, leaving some farmers guessing whether they'll have enough laborers, especially in a big year.
Quitting one employer for another just to get better conditions! How un-American!
H-2A workers are attractive to their hirers:
...they get workers whose immigration status and loyalty are not in question. And...they know these workers — their English limited and their movements largely controlled — will show up to work.
(Charming - 17th Century Virginian planters no doubt said the same about their imported African slaves.)
Gary Hudson, human-resources director for Zirkle Fruit, one of the region's biggest growers and a Global client for H-2A workers this year, said, "Because this is a 10-month-a-year job... you want to find those good-quality people who will stick with you...
(How about paying them enough to make them want to stay?)
"Global" is Global Horizons, Inc, the California firm functioning as Gangmaster for these workers. To add to the fragrance of the situation, Global had its license to operate in Washington State revoked early this year, for allegedly not fully paying its Thais. It is appealing.