Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Trumps employ – and exploit – immigrant workers at Trump businesses

Trump Was Just Exposed Hiring Dozens Of Immigrant Workers At His Winery

Image result for immigrant workers at Trump businessesAs President, Donald Trump wants to spend billions to build a wall to keep out immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

During last year’s campaign, Trump said he wanted people to buy American and hire Americans. He also repeatedly said that immigrants depress wages and compete with American citizens for jobs.

Yet Trump and his family regularly use immigrants willing to work for minimal wages at locations including their country club, golf courses, and restaurants in Palm Beach, Florida,  and at the Trump Vineyard Estates in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Many of those immigrants are Mexican workers imported for periods of time each year through the H-2 guest worker programs overseen by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Agriculture.

This year Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort has applied for temporary visas to bring in at least 64 foreign workers, down from 69 last year, to do jobs including cooking, waiting tables and general maintenance around the posh resort.

At the Trump Winery, 120 miles Southeast of the White House, which is run by the President’s son Eric, they have applied to import 23 guest workers from Mexico this year, up from 16 last year.

Workers at the winery are to be paid $10.72 per hour to plant and cultivate vines, add growing tubes, prune grape vines and related tasks.

Ivanka Trump has applied for at least five H-1B visas for workers at her Trump Fine Jewelry company between 2008 and 2013, HuffPost reported last year.

During a CNN-sponsored campaign debate in March 2016, Trump said he used the H-1B program but he wants to see it killed.
“I know the H1B very well,” Trump said in front of moderator Jake Tapper. “And it’s something that I frankly use and I shouldn’t be allowed to use it. We shouldn’t have it. Very, very bad for workers. And second of all. I think it’s very important to say, well, I’m a businessman and I have to do what I have to do.”
Trump’s Secretary of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, repeatedly voted to kill the guest worker visa program when he was in the Senate.

At his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions said about illegal immigration: “We need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down the wages of working Americans.”

 Before an employer like Trump can import workers, the law required Trump to make “positive recruitment efforts” and advertise the positions to American job seekers at least twice in the surrounding area, with one of those on a Sunday.

With the recession over, wages have been rising, even for guest workers, but not at Trump properties. At Mar-A-Lago this year, Trump hired 19 cooks at $12.74 per hour, down from $13.01 per hour last year.

Waiters and waitresses did get a slight raise to $11.13 per hour, up from $10.99 an hour last year, and overtime pay was improved slightly.

While the program is only to be used when no American workers are available, CareerSource Palm Beach told the Palm Beach Post that it “knows plenty of American citizens willing work at Mar-A-Lago.”
“We have hundreds of qualified candidates and hundreds of job orders for various hospitality positions such as servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders, housekeeping, guest services, spa services, recreation, maintenance and more,” said Tom Veenstra, a spokesman for the non-profit CareerSource.
CareerSource reported over 34,000 people were seeking jobs in Palm Beach Country at the same time Trump was importing workers. Veenstra said Trump has only called on them to find a worker once, and that was in 2015.

While these temporary jobs can be a way to move money to Mexico and other countries where recruits come from, they also represent a way exploit workers, Bruce Goldstein, president of the non-profit Farmworker Justice.
“The H-2 programs are inherently problematic,” Goldstein told Mother Jones because workers “tend not to want to challenge unfair or illegal conduct – and there are a lot of violations.”
Some labor advocates charge that the real problem is the low wages and poor conditions facing the H-2 workers. 

At Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, to attract more workers the pay was raised from $11 an hour to $13 an hour, an 18 percent increase. The ranch quickly filled the 50 available jobs and had a waitlist of 150 other Americans.
 “I knew [raising the wage] would help but I had no idea it would solve our labor problem,” Ken Christopher told the Los Angeles Times.
Trump, meanwhile has called for a loosening of the H-2 program rules to make it easier for employers to hire foreign workers. A draft executive order leaked to the press suggests more efficient processing and modernizing the H-2 program.

So while Trump hates the guest worker program, he loves to use guest workers in his businesses at the lowest legal wage level, even as his businesses make millions in profits, in part because of the efforts of those guest workers.

As usual, Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth, saying what he thinks is politically correct while acting to fatten his own bottom line by pushing up to the edge of what is legal.

It isn’t a surprise that Trump is two-faced on the issue of importing foreign workers even when there are Americans who would take the jobs if they paid a little more. 

It is sad, however, that he is so proud of what he does, even as he cuts programs for the poor, elderly and sick to pay for his giant wall to keep the same people out.


BENJAMIN LOCKE IS A RETIRED COLLEGE PROFESSOR WITH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL LABOR AND RELATIONS FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY AND AN MBA FROM THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT.