December 19, 2006

Swift Hired Illegal Immigrants To Depress Wages, Former Employees Allege In Lawsuit

To the tune of $23 million, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 18 former Swift employees who allege that the company's reason for hiring illegal immigrants came from its desire to lower wages:
Former employees are suing Swift & Co. for $23 million, alleging the meatpacking company conspired to keep wages down by hiring illegal immigrants.

The 18 former employees are U.S. citizens and legal residents who worked at a plant in Cactus, north of Amarillo, one of six facilities raided an a multistate federal sweep that led to the arrests of nearly 1,300 employees and temporarily halted Swift's operations.

''These plaintiffs are ... victims in a longstanding scheme by Swift to depress and artificially lower the wages of its workers by knowingly hiring illegal workers,'' said their attorney, Angel Reyes. ''By lessening its labor costs and increasing its profits, Swift has severely damaged the potential earnings and livelihood of these hardworking men and women.''

Greeley-based Swift and the Dallas investment firm that owns it, HM Capital Partners LLC, said in a statement that ''the lawsuit is completely without merit.''

The lawsuit was filed late Friday against Swift and HM Capital Partners in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. They contend Swift and HM Capital Partners engaged in racketeering to manipulate commerce.

''When the Swift plant opened in Cactus, wages were approximately $20 an hour,'' said another plaintiffs attorney, Michael Haygood. ''Now, the average wage is approximately $12 to $13 an hour. Illegal immigration has fueled this depression in wages.''
So they were doing the work legal immigrants and U.S. citizens will do, but not for that lower wage. Whenever illegal immigrant advocates in the Hispanic community or business owners trots out this canard, it is easy to dispel the myth of "jobs that Americans won't do"--we simply won't do them for a lower price. Heck, that is the whole point behind labor unions in the first place, protection of wages.

Faced with high labor costs, businesses end up sending jobs overseas, the dreaded "outsourcing" that liberals and unions despise. With cheap labor available elsewhere--and knowing that American job-seekers will refuse to accept a lower salary for the same work--the result is to move the job to the lower labor per unit cost area. Or in Swift's case, import the cheaper labor here, by allegedly knowingly employing illegal immigrants who are more than willing to accept marginal wages that Americans won't--or can't--accept. The legal immigrants and U.S. citizens most affected by this influx of cheap, illegal labor are Hispanics.

This is why amnesty will fail. The newly legalized citizens and those with work permits will be able to demand higher wages as the result in the change of their legal status--thus necessitating even more illegal immigration to maintain the normative depressed wages. Legal Hispanic immigrants and U.S. citizens displaced by more illegal immigrants. Seems like a logical solution to me.

Tammy Bruce notes that Americans are lining up to the jobs opened by the Swift raids.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the union representing the workers in this case have protested the raids. It's almost as if the union supports the illegal workers and the lower wages involved rather than legal workers and higher wages.

Tue Dec 19, 07:36:00 AM  

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