Tag Archives: foreign workers

Fish-o-nomics 101

Alaska leads the nation in unemployment, and fish processors in Bristol Bay are complaining they couldn’t find the workers necessary to head, gut and in some cases further process this year’s unexpectedly large bounty of sockeye salmon. Because of this, commercial fishermen were put on limits to avoid plugging processing plants with too many salmon, which left most of them unhappy. “I personally have driven through and away (from) more fish than I’ve ever seen in my life during a legal fishing opener. And that hurts,” fisherman Larry Christensen told reporter Caitlan Tan at KDLG in Dillingham.  The public radio station this year live-covered the Bristol Bay fishing season as if it were some sort of sporting event, and there are some similarities. And while fishermen were unhappy with processors, processors were unhappy with the government which they blamed for making it hard to bring in foreign workers to process fish. click here to read the story 08:48

Shrimper shortage: Lack of foreign workers puts Texas shrimp industry in bind

The Texas shrimp industry, struggling for years against high fuel prices and cheap foreign imports, faces a new crisis: a major shortage of the temporary foreign workers that boat owners and processing plants depend on to operate. The shortage is the result of Congress not renewing the H-2B Returning Worker Program when it expired at the end of September. Congress created the exemption in 2015 to help industries like seafood, landscaping and hospitality fill essential jobs.The exemption was established after the government in 2005 instituted an annual cap of 66,000 H-2B foreign worker visas, in response to a surge in H-2B applications from employers since the program started during the late 1980s. The cap is divided equally among the two halves of the fiscal year — 33,000 the first half and 33,000 the last. As part of the H-2B application process, the government requires employers first to advertise the jobs to U.S. workers. In the case of the shrimp industry, however, it’s very difficult to find U.S. workers willing to do the work. The Rio Grande Valley’s shrimp industry increasingly has had to rely on shrimp boat workers from Mexico, who tend to have experience and in some cases have worked on the same U.S. boats for two decades or more. continue reading the story here 15:12

US Labor Dept. to look at conditions affecting foreign workers on American fishing vessels in Hawaii

Labor Department official said the agency is “deeply disturbed” by news reports about the long hours, low wages and inhumane living conditions suffered by up to 700 workers from Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The official said the agency was reaching out to other U.S  government agencies to try to figure out what to do about it. “The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that workers are treated with respect, fairness, and dignity,” said Labor Department spokesperson Jason Surbey in an emailed statement. A widely published report by the Associated Press found that some workers are held in prison-like captivity at the piers of Honolulu and San Francisco when the ships are being unloaded. When at sea, the AP reported, they work up to 20 hours a day at wages as low as 70 cents an hour. Read the story here 11:07

PEI: Fishermen, processors try to sway Jason Kenney on foreign workers

863a4ac9dc_64635696_o2The Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association and Seafood Processors Association spent two hours Sunday with  trying to change his mind about the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. The purpose of the meeting was to explain to the minister why they couldn’t find local Islanders to staff their operations. Read the rest here 11:06