No Minimum Wage; No Overtime

Immigrant laborers, many of them here illegally, have begun to dominate the work force of the dairy industry and their presence is having a profound effect on some rural communities in Wisconsin.

A recent article from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism cites a study that estimates 40 percent of the dairy work force is made up of Latino workers. And this number will likely expand as dairy farms get larger.

And while Latino dairy farmers generally make about a $1 less per hour than their white counterparts, many of the farmers in the article cite the dependability of the workers as a reason why they seek them out. Farmers tell stories of having to scramble to cover for non-Latino workers who don't show up for early weekend shifts.
In the Wisconsin State Journal story linked to this post another farmer says that of the 300 employees who applied for jobs at his dairy farm in the last ten years, only 5 were non-Latinos.

It appears that milking cows, ankle-deep in cow manure, at 5 a.m., is a job that most Americans simply don't want to do, and as a city slicker, I don't blame them. But somebody has to milk the cows.

We need a guest worker program that will allow the folks who are willing to milk to come here legally and do a job that otherwise wouldn't get done.

Read more Wisconsin State Journal

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