Citizenship, Gender and Work: Social Organization of by Robert J. Thomas

By Robert J. Thomas

Why do farm employees earn much less and feature a reduce prestige than blue-collar staff in related jobs? Robert J. Thomas solutions this question via a multi-method learn of agricultural paintings and exertions markets. Fieldwork as a lettuce harvester offers precious insights from the viewpoint of undocumented immigrants. this can be a compelling research of the way the vulnerability of non-citizens and girls staff augments managerial regulate.

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Though at times certain parts of the argument in this study will rely heavily on one or another method, the belief was held throughout the research that the individual elements would provide equally important and rigorous contributions to the overall work. ― 35 ― 2 Politics of Labor Supply The numerical dominance of alien, noncitizen labor constitutes a distinctive feature of labor markets in southwestern agriculture. Despite the periodic influx of citizen workers, with the Dust Bowl in the Plains states, for example, the past 150 years have been marked by the continuous employment of foreign workers in the fields.

The reports filed by the Department of Employment in the state of California (Report 88 1-A) only provide an employer's estimations of demand for labor in particular areas, crops, and activities. To overcome this obstacle and to avoid the assumption that harvest labor is undifferentiated, I sought to include a range of survey items which would prove useful in this study and, perhaps, in other more systematic researches at a later date. This combination of methods permitted a much more holistic approach to the empirical subject.

While other firms in the industry do not have such illustrious parentage, neither are they peripheral economic organizations. Firms like Miracle Vegetable and Verde Lettuce are large, vertically integrated, and diversified agribusiness giants. These two firms rank in the top 2 percent of agricultural firms in California, including cotton and livestock producers, in terms of acreage and sales (Villarejo, 1980). In a state in which large corporate organizations dominate most agricultural production, these firms can hardly be equated with the small, localized, and marginal position accorded competitive/peripheral firms.

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