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Farm workers say: 'Take Our Jobs'

A farm worker drives a tractor

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Farm workers are tired of hearing that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans. Now one group is turning the tables. The "Take Our Jobs" campaign is offering
to put Americans to work in the agricultural industry.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler:Need a job? The United Farm Workers is ready to help.

Arturo Rodriguez: We will assist them in trying to find a job within their area.

That's union President Arturo Rodriguez. He says most agriculture jobs are outside, where temperatures are often above 90 degrees.

Rodriguez: Pay-wise, in most cases, farm workers make minimum wage.

He hopes to demonstrate that these are undesirable jobs. And that the country needs immigrant labor.

Rodrigue: Without them, we would have a failed agricultural economy.

In the first day of operations, Rodriguez says lots of American citizens did sign up to take their farm jobs.

Rodriguez: We've gotten 1,400 applicants.

Does that mean the publicity stunt backfired? Rodriguez says "No."

Rodriguez: If we can help the unemployment situation, great!

Ultimately, the United Farm Workers want Congress to enact a bill known as "AgJobs." It would give undocumented immigrants -- currently in the labor force -- a path to legalization provided they continue to work on farms. The legislation is currently stalled in the Senate.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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