Tiny Nebraska town says no to chicken plant (migrant labor one important objection)
Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 2, 2016
As reader Bob said in his subject line when he sent me this news a few minutes ago: “Great story!”
We have been reporting for years about how small towns throughout America’s heartland are being changed forever when meatpacking plants bring in transient migrant labor (and large numbers of refugees!) to work the low-skilled, low-paying jobs these meat giants pay. (I’m told that meatpacking once paid well before they discovered, first illegal immigrant labor, and now refugee labor.)
Three cheers for the citizens of Nickerson, Nebraska who sent the chicken processing plant and its plans packing!
From the Associated Press:
NICKERSON, Neb. (AP) — Half-ton pickup trucks crowd the curb outside the One Horse Saloon, a neon Coors Light sign in the window and rib-eye steaks on the menu, but otherwise Nickerson, Nebraska, is nearly silent on a spring evening, with only rumbling freight trains interrupting bird songs.
Regional economic development officials thought it was the perfect spot for a chicken processing plant that would liven up the 400-person town with 1,100 jobs, more than it had ever seen. When plans leaked out, though, there was no celebration, only furious opposition that culminated in residents packing the fire hall to complain the roads couldn’t handle the truck traffic, the stench from the plant would be unbearable and immigrants and out-of-towners would flood the area, overwhelming schools and changing the town’s character.
“Everyone was against it,” said Jackie Ladd, who has lived there for more than 30 years. “How many jobs would it mean for people here? Not many.”
The village board unanimously voted against the proposed $300 million plant, and two weeks later, the company said they’d take their plant — and money — elsewhere.
Nickerson fought against Georgia-based Lincoln Premium Poultry***, which wanted to process 1.6 million chickens a week for warehouse chain Costco. It was a similar story in Turlock, California, which turned down a hog-processing plant last fall, and Port Arthur, Texas, where residents last week stopped a meat processing plant. There also were complaints this month about a huge hog processing plant planned in Mason City, Iowa, but the project has moved ahead.
The question of who would work the tough jobs was at the forefront of the debate, though many were adamant they aren’t anti-immigrant. Opposition leader Randy Ruppert even announced: “This is not about race. This is not about religion.”
But both were raised at the raucous April 4 meeting where the local board rejected the plant. One speaker said he’d toured a chicken processing plant elsewhere and felt nervous because most of the workers were minorities.
No to Somalis!
More overtly, John Wiegert, from nearby Fremont where two meat processors employ many immigrants, questioned whether Nickerson’s plant would attract legal immigrants from Somalia — more than 1,000 of whom have moved to other Nebraska cities for similar jobs, along with people from Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia.
The story reminds me to ask the BIG MEAT headhunters at the US State Department this:
You are admitting over 700 Somalis a month to the US right now and then we have news from places like Minnesota (which you have overloaded with Somalis) where Somalis working in manufacturing are demanding sharia-compliance in the workplace. Why would anyone in their right mind continue to hire Somalis and risk a lawsuit? And, why would any little town where citizens obviously are reading alternative media (like RRW!), want that for their town? And, so why do you let the UN continue sending them to America?
*** No time to research more now, but this company is part of Crider Foods with a history of using illegal immigrant labor. I’ll bet a buck that the owners are big donors to certain elected officials (a project for another day!).
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