UPDATED 8/13: The Safety Valve letter written by Kirk B. Mayer was previously missing content. It has been corrected in this version.
Reform needed now
Washington tree fruit growers employ approximately 40,000 plus individuals on-farm and help to generate thousands of allied industry jobs and countless jobs that provide services to them. According to the Employment Security Department, in 2012 Washington tree fruit “growers” alone paid over $790 million in wages, not including benefits.
The breakdown of wages in the major tree fruit counties show: Chelan County, $120 million; Douglas County, $48.8 million; Okanogan County, $62,9 million; and Yakima County $270 million. The rural economic base is highly dependent on growers and their employees. Unfortunately, labor intensive agriculture is in jeopardy due to regulatory failures. Fixing our broken immigration and agricultural worker visa program is critical to the success of the tree fruit industry and our rural economy. Due to the failure of the current U.S. immigration and agricultural visa programs, approximately 50 percent of those working in agriculture are not authorized to do so. Growers and allied industry have been doing everything they can to become labor efficient. But according to ESD, Washington tree fruit growers employed 69,602 seasonal workers during the month of July, meaning, if estimates are correct, there was a shortage of 34,801 authorized workers.
There are not enough authorized workers available to fill that shortage. Immigration and agricultural visa reforms must include an earned adjustment to legal status for those unauthorized workers who demonstrate a good agricultural work history, pass a Homeland Security background check, and pay a fine for the crime of entering the United States illegally. The agricultural visa program must be streamlined to prevent future illegal immigration, and provide timely access to future authorized foreign employees, when authorized domestic workers are not available. Without reform the United States is destined to rely more heavily on a foreign food supply. Urge Congress to support immigration and visa reforms.
Kirk B. Mayer
Washington Growers Clearing House Asssociation
The road to Detroit
Democrats, unions, high taxes and runaway governments spell disaster for Detroit, filing for bankruptcy. Detroit was one of the most prosperous, beautiful cities in America. Unions, high taxes, pensions and excessive crooked government have made it a “disaster city.” Detroit has over 47 unions and liberal Democrats in control since 1962 — can you believe it! Many of our cities in America are now having to face up having followed the same path as Detroit. Unions, in my opinion, are the major culprit here.
I was employed by a glass company that had 47 plants. To survive we built 41 plants in the south because of excessive union demands and control. Unions have nearly ruined our railroads and they did ruin our steel industry. Bethlehem, Pa., (“Rust City”) is a perfect example of this. Silicon Valley would not be what it is today with computers, iPods, phones, etc. had it been unionized. Even FDR, one of our most liberal presidents, turned thumbs down on unions in government. Detroit is now looking for a federal bailout such as they received in the auto industry. A bailout is the last thing we should do here. Let them face up to, and work their way out of, this mess. They might learn a few things.
Obama, Reid and Pelosi are taking us down this same road. We must not let this happen! Call or write your congressman — now!
In case you haven’t heard, Detroit, Mich., is bankrupt from bribes, corruption and kickbacks. Just a few years ago it was a bustling city with normal unemployment rates and moderate housing. Now it’s completely destroyed. How many other cities are in the same place and waiting to fall? Rome was the greatest country in history but corruption, bribes and incredibly notorious leadership finally brought it down.
The United States is heading south because of some of the same problems. Our president and his cabinet are lying to us and putting the most powerful country in the world in danger of collapse.
Don’t take my word, just turn on Fox News, Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine.
It is a scary time now and if we don’t quit electing these Neanderthals we are going to be sorry.
Our health care system, oil and banking systems are broken and getting worse.
If you had watched the news, you would have heard Hillary Clinton say, “What difference does it make now?” referring to the four Americans killed in Benghazi.
If we don’t get this country back it will make Rome’s collapse look meek. It is time to look around and wake up!
Has anyone seen Joe Biden? Our vice president has gone AWOL.
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