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    Ann Corcoran
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Comment worth noting: Reader tells us why cheap refugee labor has taken over meatpacking jobs

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 9, 2017

Editor:  We occasionally post comments or guest posts from readers that are so informative that we don’t want them lost where comments are normally posted.  This is from a reader answering my perennial question about how it came to be that good paying American jobs in the meatpacking industry have now become low paying jobs for immigrants and refugees.

Before you read what Deena has to say, check out a post I wrote in 2008 about how President Bill Clinton brought tens of thousands of mostly Muslim Bosnians in to the US to do meatpacking jobs in Iowa in the mid-1990s (with the help of Lavinia Limon who was Bill Clinton’s director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement). The business model allows BIG MEAT (or LOL! BIG YOGURT) to pay low wages which are then supplemented by welfare that you pay for!

The US State Department is acting as a head-hunter for big business, so forget about the humanitarian mumbo-jumbo they are trying to sell!

From Deena:

You asked if slaughterhouse work used to be a good job. It did; and, in fact, was heavily unionized until sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s, I believe.

It had its own union (Amalgamated Meat Cutters (AMC)) and the former president of the Iowa AFL-CIO back when I worked for the national AFL-CIO came out of this union. This work was among the best in pay and benefits in the US along with auto work because basically the entire industry was unionized; and like in the UAW, workers spent a lifetime in the trade.


This is a photo I took on my fact-finding mission in the heartland this past summer. Meat giant JBS (formerly Swift & Co) is a Brazilian owned company that encourages Somali refugee labor, and as such it is changing the demographic make-up of Greeley, Colorado.

It ended when the market was flooded by foreign workers – largely illegal. The decent paying companies – and most then fell into this category – were unable to compete with low-paid-unskilled-foreign-worker-filled companies which sprang up. The pay is now about 55% of what it was then. Forget benefits.

The union merged into what is now known as the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), which largely represents retail workers. The ‘meat cutters’ of today are more likely to cut and package large sections of pre-cut meat into individual packages for purchase by shoppers in local grocery stores like Kroger where I live.

The actual slaughterhouse industry has high turnover – some logging over 100% in a year. The work is hard on the body and dangerous, which is why the wages used to be reasonably high. I’m sure OSHA still requires the posting of health and safety rules but I doubt if most of the workers can even read them, let alone care about them.

Back when Bush was staging company raids, the first things a company would do after losing its illegal workers to a raid were to raise wages to attract legal workers to this hard, dirty work and to offer bonuses to workers who could bring in new workers, proving that this was work that US workers would do, just not for the wages and conditions that prevailed in the plants where illegal workers set the standards. [And where legal refugees are now hired at those low wages—ed]

Construction work has largely followed slaughterhouse work.

The AFL-CIO used to be against massive immigration because of what I just outlined: the law of supply and demand in which large numbers of workers who will work for low wages under bad conditions drive down wages for the remaining ones who stay and force those who can’t or won’t work for these wages out of the field. It changed after Sweeney-Trumka came in 1996, bringing several operatives from the Democratic Party.


In 2013, Senator Jeff Sessions called out Trumka and the meatpacker lobbyists on the Gang of Eight bill, a bill to legalize more cheap laborers. This is why they hate him so much!

Recently the AFL-CIO has toed the Democratic Party’s line on immigration – more and faster – and has paid the price.

Their idea seems to be that they can organize these low wage workers, but it doesn’t work out that way. The union numbers keep decreasing. SEIU*** has enjoyed some success but they are organizing workers at low wages who can be easily replaced. If necessary, companies like WalMart simply subcontract out work like janitorial work to companies who will hire illegal workers on the cheap.

Construction companies hire subcontractors for wall boarding, painting, and roofing. Young men who would like a start in construction don’t get hired at these entry level jobs and so don’t make their way up the ladder.

The loss of such careers as meatpacking and construction to non-college educated men is a shame and a disaster.

The MSM made much of women voting for Trump. I’d be willing to bet that many non-college educated women would be far happier for their husbands still to be able to get those better paying jobs so that they didn’t have to work full-time and could spend more time at home when the kids are small.

***See our post over the weekend where SEIU is attempting to organize Rohingya refugees.

For more comments worth noting and guest posts, click here.

Sessions photo!  please read this!

Senator Jeff Sessions has been a stalwart in fighting for American workers in the US Senate and tomorrow the Left will try to destroy him!

8 Responses to “Comment worth noting: Reader tells us why cheap refugee labor has taken over meatpacking jobs”

  1. Very informative post.


  2. TwoLaine said

    Let’s also remember the gubt’s role in stealing American family farmlands year after year through death taxes and more. Death by taxes and regulation. Death to family farms. PE TRUMP wants to do away with the Death Tax.

    The DIM’s, however, think that we somehow owe the gubt something more when we die, even though it’s already been taxed once. Their attitude is “It’s OURS and WE WANT EVEN MORE”. They will fight tooth and nail before they give it up.

    With ObamaCare, refugees don’t have to worry about healthcare benefits. They just offload that cost onto the backs of hard-working American taxpayers to subsidize, as well as housing and so on, all the while telling us they won’t be able to pay us our SS benefits we’ve been required to pay into, under duress, for life. Another of the gubt ponzi schemes.

    They also broke up some of the bigger farm cooperatives in the 1980s-90s, AGRI Industries (American Grain Related Industries), for one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. said

    Can you add a Facebook link so I can repost without copy/paste? Thanks, John


    • Ann Corcoran said

      Hi John, If you are talking about the e-mails you get (assuming you do subscribe) there is nothing I can do about those because wordpress automatically generates those. But, if you go directly to the blog, you will see a facebook button at the bottom of every post.


  4. dotsword said

    Thank you Ann & Deena – – Excellent read & very informative. I’ve been trying to find an explanation beyond the phrase “cheap Labor” — getting around laws, unions, etc

    — seems the initial problem is [since this continually expands to more & more Industries] — is that our Penalties for hiring illegals is viewed as nothing more than a ‘cost of doing biz” and a tiny slap on the hand — b/c appears that once those roots get planted, the weeds eventually overtake the entire industry –regardless of “Raids” [which now seem nothing more a Show -done for appearance’ sake] , and weed roots continue spreading to other industries.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw a report on Tyson plants late one night on PBS. Of course, it was meant to sing the praises of diversity, not inform. The part of it I saw focused on the clerics HIRED to communicate with the “refugees” in the name of religion. It was reported that this one plant had five languages (and customs) to accommodate. How this is more economical is beyond me. I still believe the economic and compassion angles are inventions to mask the spread of Islam.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. susanne olson said

    WELL. Jeff Sessions needs to announce this to the public soon…to do an expose for us to hear. Why not send this to his aide(s)?

    Liked by 1 person

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