by Marion Nestle
Aug 12 2022
Weekend reading: why immigrants are essential to the meat and dairy industries
The Immigrant Council has issued this report. It’s a useful introduction to the role of immigrants in animal agriculture and issues related to the entire system.
The Key Findings:
- Even before the pandemic, the meat and dairy industries struggled to hire enough workers: The current national labor shortage has worsened the problem, and it’s causing meat and dairy prices to rise between 4.5 and 7.0 percent.
- These price increases are due in part to higher wages employers must offer to attract workers: From 2019 to 2022, the median wage for meat and dairy industry workers* increased 33.7 percent. from $14.95 to $20.00 per hour. This far outpaces U.S. median wage which increased from $20.11 to $21.51 per hour, or 7.4 percent during the same period.
- Transportation plays a vital role in the production and pricing of meat and dairy products: Since the start of the pandemic, advertised wages for meat and dairy truck drivers have increased nearly 40 percent due to high demand3. Already, one in four of the industries’ truck drivers are immigrants.
- Foreign-born workers are essential to America’s food supply: As many workers —both U.S.- and foreign-born —reach retirement age and leave the workforce, the meat and dairy industries will be increasingly hard-pressed to find enough workers. While meat and dairy employers rely on the H-2A and H-2B visa programs to fill jobs with temporary foreign workers, these visa programs are seasonal and do not meet the needs of what are non-seasonal industries.
The report is full of nicely illustrated facts and figures.
Lots of interesting material here. It’s worth a look.