Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    California
    Posts
    65,364

    Meat industry: Sizing up how labor affects meat prices

    Saturday, November 29, 2008
    Meat industry: Sizing up how labor affects meat prices
    TONY LEYS

    Posted at 15:50 on 11/29/2008
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    How much more would consumers have to pay for meat if the United States deported all illegal immigrants and clamped down on the flow of legal immigrants?

    Probably a few percentage points, experts say.

    Immigration critics have called for a crackdown, and they've expressed frustration when federal agents arrest illegal workers at meat plants. They've said that without immigrant labor, meatpackers would have to raise wages to attract enough U.S. citizens. That inevitably would increase food prices, but not as much as consumers might fear.

    Marv Hayenga, a retired economics professor at Iowa State University, said meatpackers generally keep a tight grip on cost information. But he pointed to a federal study done several years ago, in which packers agreed to participate if they weren't identified. That study found that manufacturing costs, which include meatpacking labor, were estimated at 11 percent of the wholesale price.

    Hayenga, who studied the industry for years, noted that grocery stores routinely add about 20 percent to the wholesale price before putting their wares in the cooler. Keeping that in mind, he said, it's safe to conclude that packing-plant labor accounts for less than 10 percent of what consumers pay for their meat.

    In other words, if meatpackers suddenly had to double their wages, a pound of ground beef that had sold for $3 might increase to roughly $3.30.

    Working conditions and pay vary dramatically from plant to plant, said Mark Lauritsen, a vice president for the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

    Meatpacking is dominated by a handful of large companies, and most sell their products under a variety of labels, said Lauritsen, whose union is the largest in the industry.

    The picture is muddied even more by the fact that many grocery stores repackage meat without including labels from the original processor. "If you really want to be an informed consumer, you'd have to ask the butcher," he said.

    Generally, Lauritsen said, unionized plants tend to pay more, have better working conditions and give better health insurance and other benefits. He said a little more than half of workers in beef and pork plants are unionized; about a quarter of chicken-processing workers are unionized.

    Union workers can expect to make at least $12.50 to $16 per hour in beef and pork-processing plants, he said. Agriprocessors, the nonunion Postville plant that has drawn attention and criticism, raised its starting wage for most workers to about $10 per hour after it was raided.

    Even with a union and relatively high wages, packing plants tend to rely on immigrant labor, Lauritsen said. That has always been true, except for a brief period during the 1960s and '70s, when unions and wages were at their zenith, he said.

    Lauritsen said he believes that most immigrant packing-plant workers are in the country legally. But a union presence does not preclude problems. For instance, his union represents workers at the Swift plant in Marshalltown, where federal agents arrested 90 workers in 2006 and accused them of being in the country illegally.

    Janet Riley, a vice president of the American Meat Institute, acknowledged that her industry relies heavily on immigrant labor. She said that's partly because most meatpacking plants are in rural areas, where American-born workers tend to be scarce. "Foreign-born workers are eager for labor, and they're willing to move to rural areas," she said.

    Decades ago, most meatpackers were in cities. Even then, Riley said, many of their workers were immigrants looking for a place to start. She disputed many labor activists' contention that the plants moved to the countryside to avoid unions. "They moved out because it made more sense to go out to where the livestock are," she said. She estimated that 60 percent of meatpacking workers are now unionized, a much higher level than most other industries. She said wages are good, considering that many workers lack a high school diploma.

    Riley said the packers who belong to the American Meat Institute process 90 percent of the U.S. market's meat. However, she said, Agriprocessors is not a member.

    www.altoonaherald.com
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  2. #2
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    19,168
    Added to Home Page with note

    http://www.alipac.us/article3779.html
    I stay current on Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's fight to Secure Our Border and Send Illegals Home via E-mail Alerts (CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP)

  3. #3
    Senior Member butterbean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    11,181
    I dont mind paying more for food that is processed by Americans and not illegal immigrants. And as the article points out, meat would only go up a few percentage points if illegal immigrants were not hired at meat processing plants. HIRE AMERICANS!
    RIP Butterbean! We miss you and hope you are well in heaven.-- Your ALIPAC friends

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at http://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Oregon, Just north of mexifornia
    Posts
    355
    * Even with a union and relatively high wages, packing plants tend to rely on immigrant labor, Lauritsen said. That has always been true, except for a brief period during the 1960s and '70s, when unions and wages were at their zenith, he said.*

    That's because my Grandfather was head of the cutters union in the western states from 62-79.

    Even though he was a crook he fought hard for his union.

    Thank God he is not alive to see whats happened because he would surely have a heart attack over this state of affairs.

    Starting wage in the meatpacking houses was around $18 hr and we could cook our burgers med rare without fear of disease too.
    Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •