jueves, julio 20, 2006

En EE.UU se llega a pagar hasta US$12 la hora del trabajador arandanero


Un estudio de la Universdidad de Florida señala que el promedio de sueldo del trabajador rural en EE.UU. es de US$6500 a US$7000. Para aumentar estos sueldos algunos productores de cítricos y tomates de industria se han volcado a la producción de arándanos en donde los salarios van de US$8,50 a US$12 la hora

La nota completa

Poverty wages for farmworkers were the problem. As Dick Nogaj figured it, blueberries were the answer. They were appalled at how hard the tomato and citrus pickers worked and how little they got in return. The average farmworker in the area, according to researchers at the University of Florida, brings home from the fields an annual income of between $6,500 and $7,000.

To boost these wages, Dick Nogaj put his faith in consumers. "We can end poverty in the agricultural sector if only 10 percent of the public pays 10 percent more for their food," he says. That's where blueberries entered the picture. The market for the anti-oxidant-rich fruit was growing, particularly among Florida retirees. A variety capable of prospering in south Florida would allow Nogaj to dominate the market for at least a month and possibly two, between the fading of Chilean imports and the ripening of more northern varieties. Higher prices for spring blueberries could translate into higher wages for farmworkers.

In 1999, having recently sold his Illinois engineering firm to its employees, Nogaj invested millions of dollars to turn 36 acres of Immokalee's sandy soil into a blueberry farm. He took a risk on a new variety developed by University of Florida researchers. He waited two seasons before harvesting the first crop.

These "leaps of faith" were motivated by Nogaj's experience with Habitat for Humanity and a personal philosophy that is equal parts progressive Christianity and solid Midwestern liberalism. Today, he boasts of paying his workers $8.50 an hour, two dollars above Florida's minimum wage, and his piece-rate pickers as much as $12 to $14 an hour. Nogaj thinks his blueberries, on sale at Whole Foods and other outlets, represent a new model for agriculture in Florida and nationwide. Fuente www.alternet.org

2 comentarios:

  1. Posted by: knitter on Jul 12, 2006 12:04 PM [Report this comment]

    Planting the seeds of good ideas and giving them room to grow (perhaps by not selling the blueberry farm to developers) is the way to live in hope and actively work toward living wages for agricultural workers.

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    Let the market set the wage
    Posted by: Lefty Fukwitz on Jul 12, 2006 1:25 PM [Report this comment]

    It's going to anyway regardless of what anyone says or does. That's called capitalism and it feeds people. Setting "living wages" is called communism and under that plan people starve. It doesn't bother me that migrant workers can not afford my house payment or a big screen tv. Once upon a time I couldn't either.

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  2. Where do farm subsidies fit in to this? Transport costs?
    Posted by: wisewarren on Jul 13, 2006 5:15 PM [Report this comment]

    I have read references to the massive amounts of subsidies the US government provides for certain kinds of farming. So where do our tax dollars go, that the people who work on the farms don't get paid better? And why do tomatoes that travel thousands of miles still cost less than tomatoes picked inside the state where they are bought? Too many corporations are on both sides of the borders, and want to keep workers' pay below the poverty line everywhere, not just here in Florida. Missing also from the equation--if we, the consumers, pay more, so that they, the workers, have more, then they, the workers, can also spend more, in our local communities. In the case of migrant workers, poverty is linked to health, early births (often premature), untreated injuries and illnesses, and so on. When migrants collapse and need care, they end up in the county hospitals. And, their children really should attend our county schools. If they need the police or fire department or the library, they should have the same access everyone else does. Not paying them a living wage means that they partake inadequately of these systems, and are unable to pay for the smaller than needed portion they take. Paying a living wage would make it possible to ease the tax burden on the non-farmworkers, although that would be offset by the increased grocery costs. But it should be possible to design and implement systems where the net gains of better pay are preserved in a better functioning social structure for their communities.

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