Labor Shortage About the Same As Last Year
Raisin Industry is Not Feeling the Pinch
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
|Salinas valley labor in a broccoli field earlier this Spring.|
Bryan Little who oversees
labor relations with the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento said
the shortage of agriculture labor this year is about 25 to 30 percent, very
similar to the way it was last harvest season.
Particular shortages are in
Salinas Valley strawberries and Lake County and Delta area pears. “There is fruit that is being left in the
fields and on the trees; they could not get it out due to not having enough
people, ” Little said.
Steve Spate, a Fresno County raisin grower and Grower Representative for the Raisin Bargaining Association said
labor has not been a big issue.
“There are some spot issues on getting
enough people for crews. But there has been quite a bit of labor that has come
over from the tree fruit industry, which is getting close to the end of their
season,” Spate noted.
Spate said the raisin harvest
started earlier this year, which allowed for a longer season for the workers to
spread out their labor.
Spate also said workers make
more money on the piece rate of laying down trays, than the hourly rate of
picking up the rolls and boxing them. “Some growers in earlier vineyards are
ready to box, but labor is not available. So, they are having to wait until
workers have laid all the grapes on the trays for drying in other vineyards."
“I think we will make it
through the season this year,” Spate said.
The reason that labor is
short is due, in part, to trouble on the border. “There is crime and fear at the
border, but the Mexican population there is getting a little older, and the
Mexican economy is getting a little better. Put that with the fact that the
U.S. economy is not all that great, and you have less people wanting to come
here,” said Little.
Labels: Bryan Little, Labor Shortage 2013, Raisin Bargaining Association, Raisin Industry not feeling the pinch. Labor Shortage, RBA, Steven Spate