Good morning World of Virtual Friends! How is everybody doing today? I hope you are enjoying your Thursday Morning.
Today's post is a semi-political one, because I'm TIRED of hearing that immigrants are stealing jobs. I am an immigrant and I am not stealing jobs.
My parents moved me here when I was 14. I had no choice, we packed our stuff and moved here from Mexico.
When we moved here, I learned about my father and his working habits, it was like getting to know him all over again. My Dad is a hard worker, he has only called off when he was really really sick, so sick that he had to take FMLA.
Anyway, I was 15.5 when I got my first job. It was at a Mushroom farm in Avondale Pa. Mushrooms are the main industry in Southern Chester County Pennsylvania. Kennett Square calls itself "The Mushroom Capitol Of The World".
My Dad's cousin was the manage for this mushroom farm, my 3 uncles worked there, and my Dad had worked there many years before, so he counted on us being safe there.
Our work shift started at 4:00 am, and we worked until 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. It was exhausting! But we were not allowed to complain, at all. My Dad worked this shift 7 days a week, and he never complained. Never did we hear my father say "I'm too tired". He would mostly say "I'm going to sleep, wake me when dinner is ready"
All the workers I met there were always nice and friendly to us... some of the guys were a bit too friendly... but they all worked hard. Everybody was there at 4:00 am to start work, and anybody who arrived late would not be allowed to work, and eventually would get fired within a week.
At the time, most of us were being paid minimum wage, $5.15 back then. There were no benefits to be had. No health insurance, no overtime, no vacation days, no sick days, no holidays. I think the first time I heard about paid time off, I asked the manager if she was joking.
All which brings me to my main point... We are not stealing jobs from the Citizens of the United States. Citizens of the United States don't want the jobs that immigrants do.
Years later, I was running a youth program, and I had a Puerto Rican student who needed a job quickly. I called my contacts and set him up for a job at a mushroom farm, as soon as I explained to him the work, and the schedule, he said to me "No way, I'm not traveling to Mexico" and I said "This job is not in Mexico, is in Avondale PA." He didn't take the job.
Even now, I work for a place who helps families get back to work. But a lot of times, our participants don't want the jobs that don't pay overtime, the jobs that start too early, the jobs that don't offer vacation time, the jobs that pay minimum wage.
Now, I get it. We live in a developed country, why settle for the minimum wage jobs with no benefits? I get it. But then I ask those who claim we are stealing their jobs... Do you want a bad paying job, with no benefits? It's low paid, but it's a job. If Yes, then there are lots of jobs at the mushroom farms... believe me, I just saw about 10 signs in Chester County that were looking for Mushroom pickers. If no, then stop complaining and just flat out say what the real fear is.
Last year when I read Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, he said the best employees he has had are Mexican and Central American immigrants. They are willing to start at the very bottom, because a job is a job. I also admire that he has been very outspoken against Donald Trump's proposal to deport millions of Illegal Immigrants.
Wow!! that turned into a rant very quickly!
Your Turn! What was your first job? What was minimum wage at your first job? would you start at the bottom again if you had to?