Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
OverSword

Migrants to be replaced by machines

52 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

OverSword
Quote

 

One of Washington’s largest blueberry growers is threatening to cut short the 2019 harvest and replace human pickers with machines next year. That’s the company’s reaction to a recent mandatory pay rate increase for guest workers. Selah-based Zirkle Fruit is suing in federal court to block the Department of Labor’s 75 cent-a-pound prevailing wage piece rate for guest workers.

 

Link

So watching the local news this morning and this story comes up in which the federal government has mandated that migrant blueberry pickers must be paid a 50% wage increase, bringing them up to 75 cents an hour.  In response the local farmers have decided to possibly cut short the harvest this year and starting next year will use automated pickers instead of people with work visas.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle
7 minutes ago, OverSword said:

migrant blueberry pickers must be paid a 50% wage increase, bringing them up to 75 cents an hour. 

That's 75 cents a pound. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robotic Jew
3 minutes ago, Michelle said:

That's 75 cents a pound. 

I wonder how many lbs per day somebody could pick? Doesn't sound like bad part time work.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
South Alabam
11 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Link

So watching the local news this morning and this story comes up in which the federal government has mandated that migrant blueberry pickers must be paid a 50% wage increase, bringing them up to 75 cents an hour.  In response the local farmers have decided to possibly cut short the harvest this year and starting next year will use automated pickers instead of people with work visas.

I wonder how many pounds per day a worker can pick? I picked oranges as a teen just for cash, and there was money to be made, It's just not the type of work no one seems to want to do except migrants.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle

Hand pickers are paid by how much they pick at $0.35 per pound. Most are making about $100 to $150 in a four- to six-hour work day. The average worker picks about 40 to 50 pounds an hour, but the top pickers can pick as much as 80 to 100 pounds per hour. 

http://www.itsmomsense.com/farming-in-focus-june-blueberries/

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Michelle said:

That's 75 cents a pound. 

This is what they use to pick them so I'm sure a person can pick many times more than a pound an hour

00c5214fa7f091b0e6afb5f98987c109.jpg

EDIT:  Never mind question answered.  Thanks Michelle.

Edited by OverSword
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
25 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Link

So watching the local news this morning and this story comes up in which the federal government has mandated that migrant blueberry pickers must be paid a 50% wage increase, bringing them up to 75 cents an hour.  In response the local farmers have decided to possibly cut short the harvest this year and starting next year will use automated pickers instead of people with work visas.

75 cents an hour is not the same as 75 cents per pound picked.  Even so it sounds like very little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
9 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

75 cents an hour is not the same as 75 cents per pound picked.  Even so it sounds like very little.

Sounds like that hourly wage is on top of a wage per pound picked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tatetopa
51 minutes ago, Michelle said:

Hand pickers are paid by how much they pick at $0.35 per pound. Most are making about $100 to $150 in a four- to six-hour work day. The average worker picks about 40 to 50 pounds an hour, but the top pickers can pick as much as 80 to 100 pounds per hour. 

I used to drive by some of their fields on my way to work in the morning.  I didn't know the pickers could go quite that fast, but it is hard work.

In my younger days, a lot of kids hit the strawberry fields for extra money in the summer.  Some of the larger farms had old school buses that would come to town and pick people up on designated corners  and take you back at the end of the day,  That was handy because moms did not do as much chauffeur duty as they do today, and it was a long way to ride a bike.

It is hot, hard work, kneeling or squatting or bending over, however you choose to do it.  Worse is cucumbers.  Long sleeves, jeans, and gloves are a must for those even when it is 90 degrees.   Too prickly otherwise.

There were a few machines even then, one called an "Iron Wino" .  Skid row was the other place the buses went to find labor among the homeless.

I could make $10-$15 dollars which was a lot 40 years ago for a kid.

As the article implies, machines pick it all ripe, spoiled, unripe as well.  It all goes into the crates.  If it gets sorted and culled after that, there is waste which is an expense.  Or it goes into your jelly, juice, and syrup.   There is a break even point when considering machine versus labor and a final use: fresh or packed.  

Automation will come, just the way it goes.  There may always be some market for hand picking to supply the fresh market with big beautiful sweet berries.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dark_Grey

So the argument is coming full circle now. I never understood the push for migrant labor to fill a supposed lack in man power when we are also being reminded daily about the inevitable labor job loss due to automation. Looks we will see a lot of Mexicans sitting beside fields and job sites holding cardboard signs while robots tirelessly pluck away in the background. The push for higher labor wages is encouraging automation more than anything else

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
3 minutes ago, Dark_Grey said:

So the argument is coming full circle now. I never understood the push for migrant labor to fill a supposed lack in man power when we are also being reminded daily about the inevitable labor job loss due to automation. Looks we will see a lot of Mexicans sitting beside fields and job sites holding cardboard signs while robots tirelessly pluck away in the background. The push for higher labor wages is encouraging automation more than anything else

As several posters mentioned, migrant workers are not all Mexican.  You must not live near farm land.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dark_Grey
8 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

As several posters mentioned, migrant workers are not all Mexican.  You must not live near farm land.

I'm not saying they are all Mexican. But for the sake of the joke, they have to be.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aztek

so what, minor decline in jobs,  they are still needed in construction, demolition,  retail industry, they may not pick those berries anymore, but they will still be selling them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
24 minutes ago, Dark_Grey said:

I'm not saying they are all Mexican. But for the sake of the joke, they have to be.

Again, I apologize for being so literal minded I don't always get the joke.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
28 minutes ago, aztek said:

so what, minor decline in jobs,  they are still needed in construction, demolition,  retail industry, they may not pick those berries anymore, but they will still be selling them. 

Your examples are skilled vs unskilled labor.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
11 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Your examples are skilled vs unskilled labor.

What kind of skill besides reading and pushing buttons do you need to sell blueberries?  There is more skill needed for picking blueberries by hand than operating a cash register, especially now days that it does all the math for you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
18 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

What kind of skill besides reading and pushing buttons do you need to sell blueberries?  There is more skill needed for picking blueberries by hand than operating a cash register, especially now days that it does all the math for you.

The other examples given: construction, demolition,  retail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, OverSword said:

The other examples given: construction, demolition,  retail

Retail was the one I pointed out is NOT skilled labor.

And anyone who has the stamina to pick blueberries or anything else all day long can be trained to do demolition and some construction jobs. 

Edited by Desertrat56

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aztek
Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

What kind of skill besides reading and pushing buttons do you need to sell blueberries?  

you need to first see if suppler did not bring you rotting berry, than you need to make sure it goes in a fridge, while some boxes are always brought up up front, so people buy it,  you need to make sure you sell as much as you can before it goes bad, when it does you need to throw it all away before it tuns into nasty stinking mess. that is just off the top of my head, there are lots of skills involved when you run\work in a fruit store, most of them are not taught in schools, cuz you do not just have blueberries, you have dozens of fruits, and you have to remember about each one, and know how fast each spoils,  what fruits to put next to what, (bananas make fruits next to it ripe faster, so you do not want to store ripe peaches next to bananas, for example)  and you can't be lazy, even a little.   it is actually harder to work in a fruit store, than in construction.  

btw construction skills, as far as jobs illegals do, i can train a guy to do what they do in a few days. and the less experience he has the better

Edited by aztek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ExpandMyMind
1 hour ago, Dark_Grey said:

So the argument is coming full circle now. I never understood the push for migrant labor to fill a supposed lack in man power when we are also being reminded daily about the inevitable labor job loss due to automation. Looks we will see a lot of Mexicans sitting beside fields and job sites holding cardboard signs while robots tirelessly pluck away in the background. The push for higher labor wages is encouraging automation more than anything else

There was a recent psychology study that found that people don't mind as much when they lose their jobs to a machine compared to losing their jobs to another human.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2212417-most-people-would-rather-lose-their-job-to-a-robot-than-another-human/

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
46 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

Retail was the one I pointed out is NOT skilled labor.

Retail (Running a cash register, communicating with costumers, etc) is skilled labor compared to picking fruit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OverSword
39 minutes ago, ExpandMyMind said:

There was a recent psychology study that found that people don't mind as much when they lose their jobs to a machine compared to losing their jobs to another human.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2212417-most-people-would-rather-lose-their-job-to-a-robot-than-another-human/

Weird.  I mind losing my job period.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Desertrat56
19 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Retail (Running a cash register, communicating with costumers, etc) is skilled labor compared to picking fruit.

You have never picked fruit for a living.  That is as skilled as retail, more physical but still skilled.  If you don't have the skill or pick it up quickly you don't last the day. 

  • Like 3
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ExpandMyMind
18 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Weird.  I mind losing my job period.

I worded it wrong. It's not that they don't mind, but that they'd prefer to lose their job to a machine rather than another person. I think it's probably a symptom of individualism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rashore

Blueberry picking by hand does require some skill. For someone that has never done it before, it can take an hour plus to pick a 5 pound bucket. For a guest worker trained and skilled in picking can easily fill a 20-25 pound lug in a fraction of that time, and really skilled pickers can get up to 4-5 lugs an hour.

Typically hand picked is really hand picked, combs and scoops are not often used. This is because combs and scoops can lead to the same waste problems machine picking does. Blueberry clusters don't all ripen at the same time, berries of the same cluster ripen at different times. So for example, a cluster can have a few pickable berries, a few that will be ready in a day or few, some that are still very underripe, and a few that are still green.

After picking there can be sorting, sizing, washing or not depending on the growing, filling packaging, storing it properly according to food rules. If a bigger supplier there is also shipping and logistics, business contracts and customer orders. From there it's receiving, QA checks, proper food storage... and finally gets to be picked up by a customer and sold at the register.

Anywho... I can understand why the guy is upset- if the increase had happened before the season or after, he could have adjusted for it in his contracts and orders. With it being dropped in mid-season, that can seriously skew a business.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.