Saturday, September 21, 2019

Employers in Alabama face Labor Shortages, Threats and Boycotts for Defending Latino Workers

Since the harsh anti-immigrant law in Alabama went into effect last month, employers in the agriculture and restaurant industries have been dealing with the aftermath of labor shortages and even threats and boycotts for defending Latino workers.

While farmers took the immediate hits following the law’s implementation, seeing an exodus of Latino laborers and watching their crops rot on vines, restaurant owners are now also reporting issues with Latino staff becoming increasingly alarmed over the law to the point of fleeing the state.

While there has been a tremendous outcry around the country for the plight of these Latino workers, one restaurant owner in Birmingham has become the target of threats and boycotts after coming out in defense of his staff.

Steve Dubrinsky is the owner of Max’s Delicatessen, a classic Jewish deli, which he says is staffed by Latinos who are authorized to work legally but have decided to leave the state over the anti-immigrant backlash.  After he spoke out in the local paper, the  Birmingham News about his staff’s fears over the law, he began receiving threats.

“People twisted what the story said,” Dubrinsky said. “I was under attack.”

He shared several of the emails with the Huffington Post.

“Well u can bet your ass that i will never eat in your resturant agian and will tell everybody i know what kind of person you are for suporting those dam wetback that are ruining our country,” one person wrote.

Attacks have been piling on all over the web as well, with accosters leaving negative reviews on different sites over a restaurant they have probably never even visited.

“This hatred being spewed anonymously,” he says, “it’s very scary.”

After attempting to hire one woman for $8.25 an hour to replace his dwindling staff, Dubrinsky says she initially accepted but then refused because she would no longer qualify for food stamps and government-funded health care.

Farm owners are faring no better with the labor choices they’ve been left with.

“People in Alabama are not going to do this,” said tomato farmer Wayne Smith. “They’d work one day and then just wouldn’t show up again.”

Smith says he has never been able to rely on American workers for backbreaking agriculture work in the 25 years he’s been farming.

Back at his restaurant, Dubrinsky says he will continue to defend his staff despite the repercussions because they are “good workers as well as good people.”

“They’re like family to me,” he said.

Huffington Post

San Francisco Chronicle

Comments

  1. “Smith says he has never been able to rely on American workers for backbreaking agriculture work in the 25 years he’s been farming”

    Did he mean White Americans? Black Americans? Asian-Americans? non-Hispanic Americans?

    Especially since this is a Latino blog and it’s such a racially sensitive topic where the very problem is people saying that latino/hispanic americans who are documented aren’t americans, u may not want to contextualize it that way… just a thought

  2. LOL I think your thought is way off. We all know which “Americans” he means. Do you really think people wouldn’t think exactly all of the above that you just mentioned. Def. no need to clarify that.

    Oh, and Hispanic is not a race! The problem here is ignorance…people don’t even think about where that tomato and lettuce in their salad comes from. How the in the world do they expect that commodity if AMERICANS aren’t willing to get out there and work just like immigrants do.

  3. Leo –

    What stupid and racist remarks. You’re the one who is ignorant. So why is ag work so back-breaking? Because the farmers have gotten used to getting illegals to work as slave labor – for little money under subhuman conditions. Why would any American work under those conditions for such little pay? This situation is the same in Europe – illegals working under even worse conditions in Italy and Spain. So civilized nations like the US are willing to have people work under those conditions just to have cheaper food? Ridiculous. And that supposedly cheap food is actually costing US taxpayers much, much more as the farmers have shifted their workers’ costs like healthcare and other costs onto the taxpayers. What needs to happen is making the work more humane and less back-breaking. And foreign workers must never get citizenship from working in agriculture. They will simply leave for better jobs. Why would they want to work in those jobs either given the choice once they are legal?

    And Dubrinsky should have stayed out of the immigration debate. He claims his workers are legal but, unless he vetted them through E-Verify then he CAN’T claim it as fact. His workers may very well have fake documents.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Since the harsh anti-immigrant law in Alabama went into effect last month, employers in the agriculture and restaurant industries have been dealing with the aftermath of labor shortages and even threats and boycotts for defending Latino workers. […]