MMT 31 Aug 61 pg 18 Congressional Quarterly

cordiamm Member Photo

Clipped by cordiamm

MMT 31 Aug 61 pg 18 Congressional Quarterly - 1 Bitter Fight Expected When Senate Gets...
1 Bitter Fight Expected When Senate Gets Washington-(CQ-A Washington-(CQ-A Washington-(CQ-A Washington-(CQ-A Washington-(CQ-A bitter fight is expected to erupt shortly when the Senate takes up a House-passed House-passed House-passed bill (HR 2010) extending the Mexican farm labor program for two years. The program, under which the labor department imports several hundred thousand thousand workers into the U.S. each year for farm work, expires expires Dec. 31 and is up for renewal. Farmer organizations are pressing for continuation without any changes in current current procedures. But a bloc of labor and welfare organizations, backed by the Kennedy Administration, Administration, is seeking reforms as the price of extension. If the reforms reforms are not adopted, they will ask the President to end the program altogether by vetoing the bill extending it. The major issue is the effect effect of the Mexican farm labor labor program on Hie wages and working conditions of the nation's 350,000 native American American migrant farm workers. Provides Cheap Labor The reform bloc charges that the Mexican farm labor program as it now operates provides U.S. farmers with an almost unlimited supply of cheap, efficient, docile Mexican Mexican contract laborers ("bra-ceros"). ("bra-ceros"). ("bra-ceros"). This, they argue, creates creates a glut of farm labor and undercuts wages and working conditions for native migrant workers, keeping them in a state of perpetual impoverishment. impoverishment. The average migrant in 1959 earned only $911 from MEDFORD MAIL IRIBUht;. l.l-SORD. l.l-SORD. l.l-SORD. OREGON all employment, farm and non-farm. non-farm. non-farm. The changes sought would make it more difficult for farmers to get Mexicans, and would therefore force farmers farmers to bid higher for the services services of the native American workers. Farm organizations oppose the changes. They siy the native native workers are not in competition competition with tht braceros be? cause the latter are used chiefly for "stoop labor" that American workers refuse to do at any price. The issue will come to a head on the Senate floor when Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy McCarthy (D-Minn.) (D-Minn.) (D-Minn.) offers two key amendments to the Mexican labor bill. The effect of the amendments will be to prevent prevent farmers from obtaining braceros unless they first attempt attempt to recruit native Americans Americans by offering them (1) wages no lower than 90 per cent of the state or national average wage in farming (whichever is lower), and (2) by also offering them certain additional benefits-free benefits-free benefits-free housing, housing, transportation, accident insurance, and work guaran-tees-already guaran-tees-already guaran-tees-already guaran-tees-already guaran-tees-already required to be given to Mexicans. Only if a farmer failed to obtain native workers with these offers would he be eligible eligible to get braceros through the labor department. Since migrant workers, particularly particularly where Mexicans are used, frequently get far less than the state or national average average (the latter was 97 cents an hour in I960), the general effect of these amendments would be to push up wages for migrants. The reform bloc argues that existing guarantees in the law against competition from Mexicans have proved vague and ineffective in protecting U.S. migrant workers. Where there is a labor shortage, they contend, instead of offering higher wages to attract native farm workers, the farmers simply tell the Labor Department Department they cannot get labor at prevailing wages and they then get braceros. To back up its arguments, the reform group cites Labor Department figures showing that in most places where braceros are used extensively, extensively, wages of American farm workers are consistently lower lower than state farm wage aver-ages-as aver-ages-as aver-ages-as aver-ages-as aver-ages-as low as 35 to 40 cents an hour in some areas of Texas and Arkansas. The McCarthy amendments J-2 J-2 J-2 i: SET OF 8 BOXED BEVERAGE in effect would require pay- pay- ment of at least the state or national average, whichever was lower. Deputy Sheriff's Body Discovered Lyle, Wash.-(l'PI)-Skindivers Wash.-(l'PI)-Skindivers Wash.-(l'PI)-Skindivers Wash.-(l'PI)-Skindivers Wash.-(l'PI)-Skindivers ! found leading to the river, early today recovered the Forester, 28. and Martin, body of Wasco County, Ore., 36, were aiding Klickitat sheriffs deputy Robert For- For- County, Wash., deputies, ester, who drowned in a freak Wearing diving gear, the diving accident in the Colum- Colum- pair went down to attach bia river last night. 'ires to the car. It apparently Forester and another Wasco ; rol'ed. Martin bobbed to the county deputy, Donald Mar-: Mar-: Mar-: "urface, cut free of his diving tin, were trying to recover a ; "jar, and yelled for help. For-submerged For-submerged For-submerged car and its pas- pas- ester did not reappear. His senger from 75 feet of water !tociy was recovered by other near the old Lyle ferry land-1 land-1 rUv.irs shortly afterward. n8- n8- - Martin was rushed to The car contained the body "T-nneville "T-nneville "T-nneville Dam for de-com-of de-com-of de-com-of de-com-of de-com-of Clyde Hoover, 36, Lyle, p ?ssion after his swift rise who had been missing since ;-om ;-om ;-om the 75-foot 75-foot 75-foot depth. His Aug. 19. It was located yes- yes- -rdition -rdition was reported as sat-terday, sat-terday, sat-terday, when car tracks were isfactory. ie.irf. JARDINIERE Mnfnar iernneil I lliaiaifi la a Farm Labor Bill Even if successful in the Senate, the McCarthy amendments amendments face an uphill fight for final enactment, since the House has already turned them down and would fight against them in conference. Farmer organizations dispute dispute the contention that the braceros program undercuts wages of native workers as a general rule, and they also argue that many small farmers farmers depend on braceros to harvest their crons because they cannot afford machinery. machinery. They further contend that the Mexican farm labor program has helped reduce the influx of illegal Mexican entries ("wetbacks") from over a million a year in 1954 to less than 30.000 in 1960. Whether President Kennedy Kennedy would choose to antagonize the farm bloc this early in his career by vetoing a Mexican Mexican farm labor program extension extension bill that did not contain contain the McCarthy amendments amendments is problematical. (Copyright 1961 Congressional Quarterly Inc.)

Clipped from Medford Mail Tribune31 Aug 1961, ThuPage 18

Medford Mail Tribune (Medford, Oregon)31 Aug 1961, ThuPage 18
cordiamm Member Photo
  • MMT 31 Aug 61 pg 18 Congressional Quarterly

    cordiamm – 24 Jan 2016

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in