Migrant workers system


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Based on Donna Meadows leverage points.

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Migrant workers system

  1. 1. Migrant Workers: A Systems Study Winston Tate and Julie Fahnestock
  2. 2. The Scope Mexican, migrant farm workers
  3. 3. The Background From 1942 to 1964, the Bracero Program allowed for over 4 million guest workers to come in from rural, poor areas in Mexico because of agricultural worker shortage in the United States.(National Center for Farm Worker Health)
  4. 4. The Background cont.• •August 4, 1942 – the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement is signed by the governments of Mexico and the United States, the first establishing the legalization and control of Mexican migrant workers along America‘s southern border area •April 29, 1943 – the Mexican Labor Agreement is sanctioned by Congress through Public Law 45 •The agreement guaranteed a minimum wage of 30 cents per hour and ―humane treatment‖ for workers
  5. 5. Almost three-fourths of all U.S. hired farm workers are immigrants. The U.S. food system—particularly fruit and vegetable production—depends on immigrants more than any other sector of the U.S. economy
  6. 6. Transcending Paradigms cont. • From analysts:―Some of the work immigrants do in the United States—particularly agricultural—is never again going to be done by citizen workers. Barring an event of apocalyptic scale, U.S. citizens are not going to return to work in the fields in large numbers.‖ • ―Everyone benefits: Of all the inequity and corruption that occurs within this system, it can be argued that the system still functions because each sector receives some benefit: immigrants find work, farmers can employ cheap labor, and Americans enjoy a small grocery bill.‖
  7. 7. transcending paradigms cont. • From the public: ―We don‘t need immigrants to work in the fields. If they weren‘t here, we‘d have more jobs.‖ • ―At least they are paid something. It‘s not slavery unless they work for free.‖ • ―Food should be cheap. I shouldn‘t pay more than $1.50 per pound for tomatoes. If tomato costs go up, I won‘t buy them. I‘ll wait until the prices drop back down.‖
  8. 8. transcending paradigms cont. • ―If they can‘t make it here, they should go back to their homes. They aren‘t supposed to be here anyway.‖ • From corporations:We aren‘t responsible for the wages of migrant workers. They aren‘t our employees. Paying migrant workers is a union dispute and we don‘t want to get involved in union problems.
  9. 9. transcending paradigms cont. From Farmers: • ―Mexican migratory worker in America is regarded as a necessary part of the bustling harvest season.‖ • ―I‘ll change my labor force to machines. Within twenty years the industry will be completely mechanized and I won‘t need to deal with immigration issues.‖ • ―Border control has told me to be suspicious of ‗illegal aliens.‖
  10. 10. Goals The ultimate goal of immigration policy is clearly to maximize some conception of welfare, well- being, or wealth of various individuals firms. • Employers seek skilled workers. • Normative is about well-being of Americans. • Keep Americans in college and out of the fields. Educated parents want their children in the office, not the field.
  11. 11. Goals A. Maximization of American welfare/well-being
  12. 12. B. Economic well-being of businesses • Immigration used to fill the gap of agricultural workers not found in United States. • Migrant workers will expand the labor supply within a particular economic sector. Wages will drop – employers/shareholders/consumers benefit from lower labor costs. • Migrants workers will consume goods and services, increasing demand, thus helping American workers. • Migrant workers pay taxes which help finance public goods in the United States. • Cheap labor for companies which keep food prices low.
  13. 13. Self-Organization • The system is maintained by coercion, violence, bribes, and deceit. • Immigration operations are structured with disjoined parts with firewalls at all levels. • Arrangers/Investors cannot be connected to any level of the operation. • Recruiters and transporters paid on a case-by-case basis, work only with an intermediary. • Informers gather information on border surveillance, law enforcement, and immigration procedures.
  14. 14. Self-Organization cont. • Guides and crew members assist in transportation and accompany the migrants throughout their journey. • Enforcers maintain order during the journey by means of threats and violence. • Debt collectors collect fees from migrants, often by means of violence or extortion. • Money launderers cover up the trail of cash, reinvested in additional criminal activities or dispersed through a series of hard-to-trace transactions.
  15. 15. Rules• •Politicians advance the interests of voters, and foreigners do not vote. The normative basis of immigration law is thus maximization of the well-being of Americans. •Unlike traditional/industrial organizations they do not have competition or external regulatory bodies. •The rules maintain a behavior and environment of exploitation.
  16. 16. Rules cont. •Designed to prevent victims from leaving. •Supporting personnel have no specific attachment to migrate worker organization. •Farm workers are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. No protection in terms of minimum wage, overtime, etc.
  17. 17. Information Flows: There firewalls at all levels - physical structure is about limited access to source of power. • Informers gather information on border surveillance, law enforcement, and immigration procedures. • Mexican farmers hear rumors of economic growth in the US. Believe these rumors are worth following. Lack of information about the truth of the working conditions. • Farmers believe that the working conditions are worth the cost. Do not hear about the exploitation. • Historically and today, contracts are written in English. Farm workers sign their names to documents and terms they may not understand or have only partial understanding.
  18. 18. Reinforcing Feedback Loops The more migrant workers, the cheaper the labor costs. The cheaper the labor costs, the cheaper the food prices. The cheaper the food prices, the more people buy food. The more people buy people, the greater the need for more food. The greater the need for food, the greater the need for cheap labor and jobs. The greater number of jobs available, the greater the number of migrant workers coming to the US. The more migrant workers, the cheaper the labor
  19. 19. Reinforcing Feedback Loops • Informal social/political agreements between business and governments hinder law enforcement and immigration officials. • Corrupt public officials provide cooperation with illegal procurement of migrant workers. • General public aware of migrant worker issues - apathetic to reality of their plight. • Accepted views are that migrants are drain on our social infrastructure: 1. Disrupt communities and social cohesion. 2. Undermine traditional identities 3. Promote unrestrained cultural change.
  20. 20. Reinforcing Feedback Loops Business and public officials aware of financial benefits beyond lower production costs (much is contrary to accepted propaganda). 1. Migrants are less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits. 2. Pay proportionately more indirect taxes (i.e. sales taxes). 3. Much lower use of public benefits and services (i.e food stamp programs). Migrant worker is detached or alienated from domestic
  21. 21. Delays
  22. 22. Delays Pay: Farm workers often don't receive paychecks for week. When they do there is little to send home. Making money: Trafficked workers may work to pay off debt for their trip, lodging, and food for decades, often never paying it back.
  23. 23. Delays cont. Sending money home: The money the farm worker planned to send home may take months to reach his family. Fair Food Act: Companies who sign this agreement often don't begin paying higher wages for months because of beaucracy.
  24. 24. Stocks and Flows Stock: Migrant farm worker. Constantly adding and loosing farm workers. Flow: seasonal agricultural work Farm worker migrates to the US fields. Works seasonally in fields. Migrates from state to state, some return home, some find permanent work, some become too ill to continue working. Farm workers continually enter and leave the system.