M3D1: CULTURALCLASHES IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY 250 words or more please read the articles before you answer the questions belowIn this discussion, we will examine the plight of “guestworkers” in the U.S. Please answer the following:What are some of the issues Bacon and Palacios highlight in relation to “guest workers” and the communities in which they work?What are some of the ways these issues might be addressed?What part does the growth of the global economy play in the employment of “guest workers”?What are the fundamental issues that impact fair treatment for this population? ARTICLE 1: BY: PALACIOSJ. WORKPLACE RIGHTS, Vol. 15(1) 27-46, 2010-2011GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS INU.S. FARMING: THE EXAMPLE OF FARMWORKERS FROM TAMAULIPAS*SIMÓN PEDRO IZCARA PALACIOSKARLA LORENA ANDRADE RUBIOTamaulipas University, MexicoABSTRACTThis article examines the working conditions of guest workers fromTamaulipas in U.S. agriculture, analyzes the participation of foreign temporaryworkers in unions, and describes the workplace risks suffered bythese workers. In Tamaulipas, a state situated in the northeast of Mexicowhere problems of unemployment and underemployment have increasedbecause of decreasing job opportunities in the farming sector, rural workersare eager to migrate to the United States as agricultural guest workers.However, farm work operates on the bottom rung of the job ladder, andseasonal guest workers are subject to severe exploitation. Tamaulipas’sguest workers are isolated on remote farms, they are indentured to a singleemployer, they suffer from unsafe working conditions and underpayment, andthey are generally powerless to complain of violations of their rights becausethey depend on the good will of their employers for future employment.*A version of this article, entitled “Guest workers in agriculture: Working conditions of Tamaulipas’farm workers employed in the United States” was presented at the 17th ISA World Congress ofSociology, July 11-17 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. This article presents some of the results of ResearchProject UAT-07-B-SOC-0114, entitled “Tamaulipas’ rural migrants and the H-2A Guest WorkerProgram.”We would also like to thank FOMIX (Fondo Mixto de Fomento a la Investigación Científicay Tecnológica, CONACYT-Gobierno del estado de Tamaulipas), Project 144275.272011, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.doi: 10.2190/WR.15.1.chttp://baywood.comINTRODUCTIONThe U.S. H-2A Guest Worker Program, authorized by the Immigration Reformand Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, establishes a means for agricultural employers tobring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States. There are two generalrequirements for employers to obtain workers on H-2A visas. First, the employermust demonstrate that there is an inadequate supply of domestic labor at a specifictime and place. Second, the employer must show that the use of foreign workerswill not create an adverse effect on the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers.However, many problems with the program exist because of lax oversight andweak worker protections. The administrative mechanisms for determining ifthere are available domestic workers being unworkable (Read, 2006).H-2A workers come to the United States openly and legally; they are permittedto work, but they do not enjoy the same protections as legal permanent residents:they are not eligible for government-funded benefits1 (Chang, 2009) and areexcluded from the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Protection Act(Hill, 2008). According to Wasem (2010), temporary legal residents pose aparticular problem “because they are permitted to work and have likely paidinto the system that finances a particular benefit, such as social security or atax refund, for which they may not be eligible.” A Mexican worker may receiveU.S. Social Security benefits (Social Security provides cash benefits to retiredand disabled workers) outside the United States if he worked in a SocialSecurity-covered job for a specific period of time: a minimum of 10 years(Nuschler & Siskin, 2005). However, foreign agricultural workers temporarilyadmitted into the United States on H-2A visas do not work in Social Securitycoveredemployment.Their legal status does not guarantee fair treatment, because there is animbalance of power between workers and employers. Nonimmigrants on temporaryvisas are bound to the employers who “import” them, and they haveno ability to change jobs if they are mistreated. They are dependent on theiremployers for their ability to stay in the country and their opportunity to obtaina visa in the following year; as a result, they are too vulnerable to ask for betterwages or working conditions. If the work situation is abusive or not what waspromised, the worker has little or no recourse other than to go home. As Read(2006) pointed out, the central flaw from a workers’ rights point of view is thatemployers control the right of guest workers to lawfully enter the country.In Tamaulipas, a state situated in the northeast of Mexico, the H-2A TemporaryVisa Program constitutes an important means of support for the ruraleconomy. This program constitutes the most appealing way to migrate to theUnited States. Unauthorized workers have to pay up to $3,000 to cross the border,28 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIO1Guest workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but this is a state-by-statescheme, with varying rules, and frequently they are deprived of this benefit.receive lower pay, have to hide from the immigration authorities, and run therisk of being deported; by contrast, seasonal guest workers are entitled to freehousing, workers’ compensation or equivalent insurance, and travel reimbursements,and if they last the season they are guaranteed pay for at least three-quartersof the hours promised by their contracts.Tamaulipas’s rural workers’ demands are very low: for them, being employedis enough. Tamaulipas’s proximity to the southeastern part of the United States(the area that demands the majority of the guest workers involved in the farmingsector) reduces transportation costs. Moreover, the experience of Tamaulipas’sfarm workers in very demanding activities, like orange picking and sugar caneharvesting, increases their attractiveness. As a result, Tamaulipas constitutes animportant area for recruiting H-2A workers.This article examines the working conditions of foreign temporary workersin U.S. agriculture. First, we explain the methodology of the study. Second, weanalyze the lack of job opportunities in Tamaulipas and the desire of rural workersto migrate to the Unites States through the H-2A Guest Worker Program. Next,we examine workplace abuse and violations of wage laws in U.S. farming. Afterthat we describe workplace risks suffered by Tamaulipas’s H-2A workers andstudy the causes of the limited participation of guest workers in unions.METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDYThe research, conducted from March 2007 to October 2008, is based onin-depth interviews. The interview guide, based on open-ended questions, focusedon farm workers lived experiences as they were represented in thoughts, ideas,feelings, attitudes, and perceptions. The interviews were tape-recorded and typewritten.Fifty agricultural workers, who participated one or more times in theH-2A Guest Worker Program, were interviewed in 30 rural communities formingpart of nine municipalities of Tamaulipas: Abasolo, Guemez, Hidalgo, Jaumave,Llera, Padilla, San Carlos, Tula, and Victoria (see Table 1).Information-rich cases were selected nonrandomly, and a snowball samplingtechnique was used to generate the sample, as informants were asked to introduceus to farm workers they knew who could fit into the sampling strategy. In thecenter of Tamaulipas (Guemez, Hidalgo, Padilla, Llera, and Victoria), an areacharacterized by the strong presence of farm workers with experience in orangepicking, 35 interviews were conducted. Six farm workers were interviewed inthe south-west of Tamaulipas (Jaumave and Tula), the poorest area of this state.Finally, six farm laborers were interviewed in the north-east (Abasolo) andthree were interviewed in the northwest (San Carlos), an area that has suffereda process of depopulation as a result of migration prompted by the lack ofprofitability of traditional crops: corn, beans and sorghum. On the other hand,because less than 3% of Tamaulipas’s farm workers employed with H-2A visasare women, the sample included only male workers.GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 2930 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIOTable 1. Interviews Quoted in the TextAberlardoAmbrosioArturoAurelioBasilioBrunoCarlosDavidEduardoFelipeGustavoHilarioIgnacioJaimeLorenzo39-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula, Tamaulipas),who worked in North Carolina in 1992 and 1993.34-year-old H-2A worker from Servando Canales (Guémez,Tamaulipas), who worked in Ohio in 2006 and in WashingtonState in 2008.32-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in Virginia in 2002.38-year-old H-2A worker from Miraflores (Guémez, Tamaulipas)who worked in Missouri and Alabama in 2007 and 2008.38-year-old H-2A worker from Guillermo Zúñiga (Hidalgo, Tamaulipas),who worked in North Carolina and Tennessee from 1996 to 2008.46-year-old H-2A worker from Emiliano Zapata (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1991 to 2006.24-year-old worker from Abasolo (Tamaulipas), who worked inIllinois in 2004.38-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 2003 to 2007.35-year-old H-2A worker from Guillermo Zúñiga (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1999 to 2008.28-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Engracia (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in Illinois from 2005 to 2007.40-year-old H-2A worker from Nuevo Dolores (Abasolo,Tamaulipas), who worked in Texas in 2000.40-year-old H-2A worker from Guadalupe Victoria (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas from 2000 to 2008.28-year-old H-2A worker from La Soledad (Padilla, Tamaulipas),who worked in North Carolina in 2007.46-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1995 to 2005.39-year-old H-2A worker from Alfonso Terrones Benítez (Tula,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998 to 2007.GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 31Table 1. (Cont’d.)LucioManuelMarianoNatalioNicanorOliverOrencioPascualPrudencioRafaelRicardoRobertoSantiago37-year-old H-2A worker from Santa Ana (Victoria, Tamaulipas),who worked in Florida from 2004 to 2008.33-year-old H-2A worker from Vicente Guerrero (Victoria,Tamaulipas), who worked in Virginia from 2000 to 2008.39-year-old H-2A worker from Tanque Blanco (Tula,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina in 1998.48-year-old H-2A worker from Servando Canales (Guémez,Tamaulipas), who worked in Washington in 2008.53-year-old H-2A worker from Vicente Guerrero (Victoria,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998to 2006.27-year-old H-2A worker from Union Morales (San Carlos,Tamaulipas), who worked in Florida, Texas, and Louisianafrom 2002 to 2008.40-year-old worker from Guadalupe Victoria (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas from 2000 to 2008.34-year-old H-2A worker from Rancho Nuevo (Victoria,Tamaulipas), who worked in Arkansas in 2003.45-year-old H-2A worker from La Crucita (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1993to 2008.38-year-old H-2A worker from Emiliano Zapata (Hidalgo,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 1998to 2008.42-year-old H-2A worker from El Olivo (Victoria, Tamaulipas),who worked in Washington in 2007.30-year-old H-2A worker from Caballeros (Victoria, Tamaulipas),who worked in Georgia in 2006.42-year-old H-2A worker from San Lorencito (Jaumave,Tamaulipas), who worked in North Carolina from 2001to 2007.aNames used in this article are pseudonyms.The farm workers interviewed were employed principally in North Carolina,Texas, Washington State, Florida, Virginia, and Georgia, in activities like tobacco,orange, and apple picking and Christmas tree cultivation.We collected the data in Mexico because in the United States, guest workerscould not speak freely. In 2006, we conducted participant observations of Mexicanguest workers employed in South Florida’s orange sector; however, during ourvisit we were not allowed to record interviews, and the farm workers, wholived in isolated labor camps, were reluctant to speak out. We realized that theguest workers had traveled to Florida to earn money for their families andthey were not about to jeopardize their jobs by speaking up. By contrast, in theirhome towns, interviewees spoke more openly, with less defensiveness or fearof reprisals. When farm workers come back home they talk to friends and relativesabout their experience, but they tend to overlook negative memories. Byemphasizing their success, they expect to receive admiration and acknowledgmentfrom their acquaintances. In the United States those who speak out can be sentback home; likewise, if they speak up about mistreatment and abuse to friends andrelatives, they may lose the image of winners that they try to preserve. However,when we interviewed them in their communities, interviewees were willing totell their stories to strangers. In a place far from the United States, and awayfrom the presence of their friends and relatives, interviewees lost their fear ofhaving their words come back to haunt them. Therefore, after showing them ourcredentials and briefly explaining the purpose of our study, we were able tocreate an environment of narrative-rich communication. We used storytelling as amethod of discovery, and as time went on, interviewees became more interestedin talking to us. In many cases, after we had finished recording the interviews,the conversation continued for a long time.THE EMIGRATION OF TAMAULIPAS’S FARMWORKERS TO THE UNITED STATESIn Mexico, the negative effect of agricultural liberalization on the prices ofbasic crops has prompted rural outmigration (Boucher et al., 2007; MendozaCota, 2006). Accordingly, the Survey on Migration in the Northern Frontierof Mexico (EMIF) shows an increase in rural migration to the United Statesfrom 1998 onward as a result of the crisis in the Mexican farming sector (IzcaraPalacios, 2009b). As a consequence, rural economies in Mexico are becomingmore dependent on remittances from workers who are employed in the UnitedStates (Cordero Díaz, 2007).In rural areas of Tamaulipas, problems of unemployment and underemploymenthave increased from the 1990s onward because job opportunities in thefarming sector have decreased (García Salazar & Omaña Silvestre, 2001). Asa result, both landless farm workers (Izcara Palacios & Andrade Rubio, 2007: 70)and peasants (Camargo López y Espericueta Reyna, 2006) have migrated in32 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIOsearch of better economic opportunities. Landless farm workers are the poorestresidents of the rural areas of Tamaulipas because of problems of unemployment.They do not have anything except their hands, and usually they do not own thehouse were they live; therefore, when they are unemployed they suffer frompoverty. Peasants, orejidatarios, are also poor people; however, they own thehouse were they live and also a small parcel of land. Generally the income fromtheir parcel of land is not enough for them to make a living, and as a result manyof them also have to work for others as farm workers; however, they are neverunemployed because there is always work to do on their own parcel of land.As was pointed out by one interviewee, Lorenzo, “Here one works very little;you do not have a permanent job; sometimes you work, and sometimes you don’t.”Since 1990, most rural municipalities in Tamaulipas have lost between 2%and 5% of their population each year as a result of outmigration (Izcara Palacios,2009a). According to interviewees, rural areas of Tamaulipas are being depopulatedas a result of international migration. Rafael pointed out that “peoplecontinue migrating; here, almost everybody goes to work there.” Manuelexpressed the same opinion: “Here almost every man goes to work there.”Gustavo complained about international migration resulting from the decliningprofitability of agriculture and blamed this on the scarce support farmersreceived from the government. Oliver described in this way the desolationsuffered by Tamaulipas’s rural areas: “There are seasons when there are nomen here in the ejido [meaning a village in which the land is owned communally;in this case, Union Morales, San Carlos]; there are only children; here, whenthey grow up they see the way to look for employment in other places, and mostof them go to the other side [the United States] to work.” Likewise, Ambrosioconcluded, “Only children and women stay here.”Given the disparity in wage rates between the United States and Mexico,Tamaulipas’s workers, who are desperate for employment, rarely complain aboutwages. Oliver remarked, “For me everything is all right; I only want a job.”Similarly, Lucio explained that “for me having employment is enough, becauseyou go safely and you have a job; we only have to work hard.” The H-2A programoffers to U.S. employers a never-ending stream of grateful, hardworking workerswho will not complain about violations of their rights. However, guest workers’ignorance of their labor rights makes them more vulnerable to workplace abuse.As Natalio emphasized, “Although you receive a contract, you can not readit because you do not understand it. Only they understand it.”Tamaulipas’s farm workers are eager to participate in the H-2A program. AsCarlos, a farm worker who worked once in Illinois, commented, “We all havethe dream of returning to work there.” Becoming a guest worker is defined as“one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my life” (David). However,working in the United States is not pleasant; guest workers do dangerous andexhausting work, are isolated on remote farms, and work long hours for lowwages. According to Hill (2008), guest workers’ working conditions are close toGUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 33slavery. However, they have no choice; if they want to buy a house or a car, orpay for the education of their children, they have to work in the United States.Because of the stresses they face, a few days before leaving for the United Statessome workers experience anxiety and a strong desire to stay in Tamaulipas. AsOrencio, a guest worker who had traveled to Arkansas nine times, commented,“When there is only a day left . . . a few hours before leaving, I am trembling, Ibecome very nervous. For me here [Guadalupe Victoria, Tamaulipas] is verybeautiful, I would like to stay here.”WORKING CONDITIONS OF H-2A FARM WORKERSIN THE UNITED STATESThe H-2A visa program has been criticized by growers for being too slow,complicated, costly, and time-consuming and for not meeting their labor needs,and by farm worker advocates for permitting employers to exploit foreign workersand providing few protections for U.S. workers (Bruno, 2008; Martin, 1996).Moreover, opponents of guest worker programs argue that the supply of unskilledtemporary foreign workers during an economic recession will have a deleteriouseffect on the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers (Wasem, 2010).Working conditions in U.S. agriculture are characterized by hard work, lowpay, and long working days (Durand, 2007a, 2007b). H-2A program includesprovisions that make migrant workers more expensive to hire than domestic laborin order to prevent adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of U.S.workers (Hill, 2008). However, by allowing growers to import workers fromabroad to perform agricultural work that domestic workers are unable or unwillingto undertake, H-2A visas constitute a mechanism to recruit submissive, hardworkinglaborers and reduce production costs. Guest workers are captive laborerswho are subject to the unilateral demands of employers because the visa programgives farmers the power to order guest workers to leave the country. H-2A workersmust please their employers in order to remain legally employed in the UnitedStates; as a result, most of the provisions for the protection of foreign workers’wage rates and working conditions have been ignored, and previously existinglow wage levels have been reduced (Briggs, 2004; Trigueros, 2008).Employers are particularly stringent with guest workers because the visaprogram gives U.S. growers complete discretion over where and how to recruitworkers (Izcara Palacios, 2010c). In order to maximize their profits, employersselect only the best workers (those who work hardest and do not speak out).To find workers able to work 10 or more hours per day in tough workingenvironments is not an easy task. Many workers go to the United States, but arenot called back the next season. In some cases it is because they have caused sometrouble; however, generally it is because they did not meet the productivitystandards required. Prudencio, who was foreman on a farm in North Carolina,pointed out that “only half of those who go are recalled.”34 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIOEmployers make a “black list” that contains the names of those who will notreturn the next season, and a “white list” that contains the names of the workerswho will be recalled (Izcara Palacios, 2010a: 255). Nobody knows for sure ifhe will be included in the “white list.” As Jaime explained, “You are not sure;everything is like this. You have the hope of being recalled; if not, you areruined.” During the days previous to the announcement of the names of thoseon the “white list” Tamaulipas’s farm workers become very anxious. As Hilarioremarked, “Now there is a lot of competitiveness.” Normally, those who haveparticipated for two or more years in the program are rehired; however, as they getolder they are replaced by younger and more efficient employees. The requirementsfor employing illegal workers are lower because employers are free fromthe contractual requirements of the H-2A program; however, in the case ofguest workers, who are more expensive, employers recruit only young, obedient,experienced, and hardworking people. As was pointed out by Arturo,When you are 45 they don’t want you. They want young people, like 42or younger. . . . If you are there, and you are illegal [mojado] they don’t careas long as you work hard. However, those who are recruited legally inMexico must be young; that is a condition.As a result, Nicanor, a 53-year-old farm worker who was employed for nineyears in North Carolina, was fearful of not being employed any longer becauseof his age:I think that they are not going to speak to me . . . local contractors say thatemployers only want workers 40 years old or younger, they don’t wantolder people.H-2A workers are expected to work 10 or more hours per day, six or seven daysper week. Some of the interviewees complained about being forced to work tothe limits of human endurance. Basilio, who had participated in the programfor the last 13 years, said: “I am working 14 or 15 hours per day, from Mondayto Saturday.” Farm workers usually work from Monday to Saturday; however,occasionally they also work on Sundays. Ambrosio, who was employed inWashington, pointed out: “Sometimes we worked everyday; for example, weworked Saturdays and Sundays, 15 days in a row.” Therefore, when intervieweescompared working conditions in the United States and in Tamaulipas,they always concluded that in the United States they had to work much harder.As Ignacio pointed out, “There [in the United States] you cannot work slowlylike here [in Tamaulipas]; there you have to work very quickly, you have towork many hours, and they want you to work very rapidly.” However, theworkers did not think that this was unfair. Wages in the United States weremuch higher than in Tamaulipas; in one day in the United States they couldearn more than in a week at home, and because of this they thought they hadto work much harder in the United States than in Mexico.GUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 35Workers from Tamaulipas do not complain about long working days; onthe contrary, they usually look for doing overtime work to do. H-2A workersobtain most of their annual earnings from their work in the United States;therefore, they try to work as much as possible during the period they spendthere (usually from two to six months per year).The principal requirement for the employer to obtain workers on H-2A visasis that the employer must show that the use of foreign workers will not createan adverse effect on the wages or working conditions of similarly employedU.S. workers. Accordingly, employers must offer the same benefits and jobrequirements to both local and foreign workers. H-2A workers are covered bywage laws, and employers must provide them with an earnings statement detailingtheir total earnings and the hours actually worked. However, in the United States,employers of low-wage workers in industries in which immigrants are overrepresented,like farming, are frequent violators of wage and hour laws (Smith& Ruckelshaus, 2007).Farmers participating in the H-2A program are required to comply with allfederal and state labor-related laws; but there is a contrast between law andpractice because guest workers are too vulnerable to demand compliance with thelaw and there is no effective grievance system to enforce the terms of their workcontracts. The problem is that the Department of Labor (DOL) is unwilling toprotect the rights of guest workers (Izcara Palacios, 2010b; Pastor & Alva, 2004;Smith-Nonini, 2002). H-2A workers are routinely cheated out of wages, they arepaid lower wages than U.S. workers, they are forced to work overtime withoutpay, and they receive phony earnings statements. Roberto, who worked on a farmin Georgia, reported that he was cheated of his pay by an unorthodox accountingsystem (he had to work 10 hours per day to compute seven hours in his employer’searnings statement). Growers are obliged to pay employees a wage equal to orhigher than the AEWR (Adverse Effect Wage Rate) for the state in which thework is being done. The average hourly wage rate for field and livestock workersin a region is published by the United States Department of Agriculture basedon its quarterly wage survey (Whittaker, 2005). However, in order to reduce wagecosts, wage statements usually do not register all the time worked. Usually, theemployer sets a production standard, paying for a certain number of hours thatare invariably fewer than the hours actually required to do the work, as a meansof shortchanging employees while pretending to comply with the law. Pascualpointed out: “They tell you that you will be paid by the hour; but you are paidby the piece. They tell you a limit (how many boxes you have to fill), and ifyou do not pass that limit you do not return the next year.”The AEWR system allows for manipulation by employers who pay by piecerate (Smith & Ruckelshaus, 2007). Although the H-2A program prohibitsemployers from imposing productivity requirements, it has been documentedthat the Department of Labor has approved, as satisfying the AEWR, applicationsthat required workers to harvest a certain amount of a particular crop according to36 / IZCARA PALACIOS AND ANDRADE RUBIOa piece rate (Guernsey, 2007: 295). Under the H-2A program, the employer mustpay the prevailing hourly or piece rate, which must at least equal the AEWR;however, paying a piece rate usually results in the lowering of wage rates(Read, 2006). In this connection, Guernsey (2007) has underlined that thefailure of the DOL to develop an accurate methodology to convert hourly ratesinto piece rates has adversely affected farm workers’ earnings. For example,in January 2008, Zirkle Fruit (a fruit company based in Washington State)was sued by nine former H-2A workers who had been fired for not meetingproductivity standards. The case of Zirkle Fruits exemplifies how an inaccuratemethodology to convert hourly rates into piece rates affects worker’s earnings.In Washington State average hourly wage rate for farm workers increased7.8% in 2007; however, Zirkle Fruits changed the methodology to converthourly rates into piece rates; and as a result this company in 2007 paid wagesonly 0.2% higher than in 2006.2 By attaching wages to productivity standards,growers reduce their production costs. As a result, U.S. growers are displacingU.S. employees and hiring H-2A workers. For example, in Arizona in March2008 15 former U.S. employees, who were displaced by H-2A workers, suedTanimura & Antle (a fresh vegetable company that farms over 30,000 acres)for not being recalled to work. Also, the United Farm Workers union (UFW)filed a complaint on behalf of the 15 workers with the Department of Labor(“H-2A, H-2B,” 2008).Domestic labor cannot compete with guest workers. The latter are carefullyrecruited, and only the best and brawniest of foreign workers are selected.In the farming sector, “minimum wages” are becoming “maximum wages”and if local workers do not meet the productivity standards that are met byforeign workers, they are not eligible for the jobs offered. By offering lowwages and abnormal working conditions, growers discourage local workersfrom applying for these jobs (Guernsey, 2007). Smith and Ruckelshaus (2007:597) pointed out that in areas where H-2A workers are employed, employers“require superhuman quantity and quality standards in order for workersto be considered qualified for jobs.” As Laufer (2006: 245) explained aboutJoe Elliot, a Kentucky farmer that Laufer describes as a grower who worksby the rules, he no longer employed U.S. workers because they did notwant to work the necessary hours per week to complete the harvest; instead heemployed H-2A workers.One of our interviewees blamed guest workers for being too submissive andaccustoming employers to high productivity standards. According to Rafael,Mexicans, who are eager to please their U.S. employers, work much harder thanGUEST WORKERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS / 372In 2006, Zirkle Fruit paid workers 1.99 times the AEWR for a piece of work (a binof apples). However, in 2007 the rate was reduced to 1.84 times the AEWR for a piece ofwork. This is because in the year 2007, the AEWR in Washington increased by 7.8%; as aresult, Zirkle Fruit increased its productivity standards by 7.6%.they do in their hometowns. However, employers, who see them working veryhard, think it is normal for them to work so hard, and do not tolerate those whowork more slowly:What happens is that Americans get used to Mexicans’ way of working;we have to blame ourselves because we work very hard. . . . One accustomsthe employer to this, and sometimes when one cannot work so hard, theboss gets upset.”WORKPLACE RISKSAgriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States(Hansen & Donohoe, 2003; Smith-Nonini, 2002). This sector employs less than3% of the nation’s workforce, but suffers 14% of work-related deaths (Martinez,2003). Limited access of farm workers to health services (Kandel, 2008; Poss& Pierce, 2003) increases health problems among these workers (Ward & Atav,2004). According to Feldman and colleagues (2009, p. 101), “farm workersare likely to ignore problems that do not affect their work”; as a result, theyvisit health centers only when problems are advanced and treatment is morecomplicated (Ward & Atav, 2004). H-2A workers’ health problems are especiallysevere because they are employed in the riskiest activities (GAO, 1988; Quandtet al., 2006).Guest workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation Insurance, whichprovides compensation and medical care for employees who are injured in thecourse of employment, and proof of insurance coverage must be provided tothe National Processing Center before certification is granted to the employer(Kandel, 2008; Ward & Atav 2004; Wasem, 2007); also employers shouldprovide workers with transportation to enable them to receive needed health care(Feldman et al., 2009, p. 99). However, many injured guest workers are not able toobtain benefits because workers’ compensation is a state-by-state scheme, withvarying rules. Accordingly, many of our interviewees got no information onwhat to do in case of workplace injuries, and they complained that they didnot receive medical care or compensation for lost income. Moreover, somefarm workers pointed out that employers forced them to s

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