Labor Shortages Challenging Industry
“We’re not seeing anything that we did not expect this year in terms of labor shortages,” said Bryan
Little, Labor Relations, California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento.
Little said that labor is
running about 30 percent short, about like it did last season.
“We saw the first shortages were
with the cherry harvest this spring , but since the cherry crop was light, the
labor shortage was not so evident,” Little said.
Currently, pear producers in
the Delta and in Lake County are seeing some shortages, which is causing some
strong-arming from harvesters. Usually, packinghouses want pears picked for
size. Workers are demanding to get in and get out, by stripping all the fruit
from the trees and get paid. “In this situation pear growers do not have many
options,” said Little.
No word at this time on how the
raisin industry is fairing, as the harvest has just begun.
In the Salinas Valley there
are about 30 percent down as well. Growers there are making daily decisions on
whether or not to pay overtime to harvest a field.
“If you have a field of
cabbage and you need to get it out for the marketplace then an economic
decision must be made. Use the limited workers and pay overtime, or disk the
field under,” said Little.
Labels: Brian Little, California Farm Bureau, Delta Pear Growers, Labor relations, Labor short, Lake County Pear Growers, Salinas Valley