Saturday, August 04, 2012

Workforce Dumping - Update

There is a move by the Canadian government and business interests to admit 700,000 people in one year to clear the immigration backlog. In a move to support this action there have been a number stories sprinkled throughout the media about worthy small business that have trouble recruiting enough people. There was a story last night of a truck manufacturer and its trouble recruiting welders. Today in the Globe and Mail Jeffery Simpson had a snarky column about how Canadian employers have to recruit aboard because locals are unreliable. In this Simpson gave the example of Stanfield, Underwear makers, and how it has trouble recruiting locals (id est Canadians) because they (a) can't work (b) won't work (c) work badly.

My answer to these champions of free enterprise is pay more money. People are willing to do more for union wages (living) than for a few bucks above minimum. For the sake of saving $5 bucks a hour our champions of industry want more people in the country.

In Alberta there is an example of the difference over time between high quality, high wage, low turnover, jobs with low quality, low wage, high turnover, jobs. A couple decades ago when meat packing plants were primarily in cities there was a long strike at Gainers against Peter Pocklington. Pocklington wanted to reduce the wages at Gainers, a union shop, to a couple of dollars above minimum wage. Now the biggest Albertan packing plant is in Brooks. The wages there are $10/hr versus $20/hr twenty years ago at Gainers. After the plant was established it quickly ran out of people who would work at slaughterhouse for $10/hr. So the company turned to mass immigration.

In the NY Times there is a story of illegal immigrants that have been hired by contractors to clean up New Orleans. The locals are very angry with this development. The question is why would government contractors would feel they are free to hire illegals. Because in America immigration policy is aimed at maximizing are creating a large pool of insecure workers. Otherwise their illegal immigration problem would disappear if the crime of immigration violation would apply equally to employers as with the employees.

Mass immigration is crutch for bad employees. Productivity improvements occurs when more value added is created for each additional input. Attempting to get discounts on labour, raw material and energy is just way of getting productivity increases on the cheap. Technological improvements are more long lasting than any slight temporary saving. Also the business may be saving money through negative externalities as its costs are borne by the wider public.

Note

National contractors in New Orleans preferring to hire illegal immigrants over locals, In Louisiana, Worker Influx Causes Ill Will

I can't link to the Jeffery Simpson oped. The Globe and Mail's website has gotten worse. They have put more and more of their content behind a paid registration screen.

Update: November 6, 2005
Here is a recent story, link in cutout limbo, from the wire service AP about the abuse of illegal workers. A number were employed by subcontractors of a subsidiary of Haliburton. The entire crew were stiffed out of their pay. These "white collar" crimes are fraud, theft, and conspiracy. The local authorities should lay these and RICO charges all the way up the chain from subcontractor to Haliburton. The local law enforcement should actually lay charges and enforce laws but the practice of condoning immigration offenses by employers in the US has become traditional. 

Update 08/04/2012: For greater visibility.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell, Feldspar!