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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2012

Anita Alves Pena

Farm labor contractors operate as intermediaries between farmworkers and agricultural employers by recruiting and supplying labor to US farms. In a political economy where…

Abstract

Purpose

Farm labor contractors operate as intermediaries between farmworkers and agricultural employers by recruiting and supplying labor to US farms. In a political economy where there are employer sanctions for hiring workers without proper documentation, contractors share risk alongside final employers. Furthermore, contractors may facilitate quick employment matches during time sensitive agricultural tasks such as harvesting. For undocumented workers, using a contractor may decrease uncertainty associated with a foreign labor market and ease language barriers. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current role of labor contractors in delivering immigrant agricultural workers, particularly undocumented workers, to farms.

Design/methodology/approach

Determinants of labor contractor use and relationships to final worker outcomes are examined using econometric methods and a large nationally‐representative worker survey that is distinctive in that it distinguishes legal status.

Findings

Undocumented farmworkers are shown to be more likely to use contractors than are documented workers, though statistical significance is sensitive to the inclusion of crop and task indicators, and wages and fringe compensation to workers who use contractors are lower, even after controlling for legal status.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to limited recent academic work on the role of labor contractors in US agriculture. Future work may examine ongoing changes to this role in the context of mutable immigration policy and public opinion.

Practical implications

It is argued that the decline in labor contracting increases the need for employer‐level bilingual communication skills and compliance with labor regulations.

Originality/value

Understanding current dynamics of the agricultural labor market should be of value to scholars of rural economies, farm owners and agricultural policymakers.

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Anne Hilda Wiltshire

The purpose of this paper is to delineates workers’ labour turnover and considerations around work, in a context of informalisation of work, through a case study of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to delineates workers’ labour turnover and considerations around work, in a context of informalisation of work, through a case study of temporary non-resident farm workers in the deciduous fruit sector in Ceres, South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design is a three-phase exploratory sequential mixed-methods strategy. Findings from 29 in-depth interviews were refined, verified and ranked in four focus groups. These informed grounded indicators in a survey of 200 farm workers employed in peak season and their 887 household members.

Findings

Considerations are informed by work-related insecurities, interpersonal workplace relationships and reproductive insecurity in the form of care of others, social linkages and residential insecurity, seemingly hierarchical. The least important considerations most thwart workers’ ability to complete fixed-term contracts and account for over 70 per cent of labour turnover in the form of resignations. In sum, workers experience constrained considerations around work arising from their material, social and economic conditions.

Originality/value

This is the first study on the labour turnover of farm workers in South Africa and the fifth globally. The research gives precedence to the voice of farm workers and is a thick description of workers’ considerations around work.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Gabrielle E. Clark

Since the late 1970s, US employers have increasingly drawn upon legal temporary labor under the H-2 visa to address their labor needs in low-waged sectors. Ever since…

Abstract

Since the late 1970s, US employers have increasingly drawn upon legal temporary labor under the H-2 visa to address their labor needs in low-waged sectors. Ever since, what Clark calls migrant labor activism and conflict in the courts has similarly erupted. However, as she argues in this chapter, making “adversarial legalism” the H-2 way of law has also been a story of comparative state formation. For, the litigation largely reflects the structure of labor migration created after the demise of government-run migration. In this regard, activists wrestle with the problems created by the new role of global labor intermediaries in the recruitment process, absolute employer control over hiring and firing, and the coercion produced in the shadow of a now minimally interventionist state. Drawing upon archival research, interviews with legal professionals, and the entire case law docket in this area, this chapter puts “adversarial legalism” under the H-2 visa in its historical and political context.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-058-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1974

KEITH MAYES

Technology turned a wilderness into a lush oasis. But Coachella's troubles were only just beginning …

Abstract

Technology turned a wilderness into a lush oasis. But Coachella's troubles were only just beginning …

Details

Industrial Management, vol. 74 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-6929

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Book part
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Martina Lo Cascio and Domenico Perrotta

This chapter deals with labour conditions and discrimination of migrant workers in Italy, with a particular focus on the agricultural sector in two Southern Italian areas…

Abstract

This chapter deals with labour conditions and discrimination of migrant workers in Italy, with a particular focus on the agricultural sector in two Southern Italian areas: Northern Basilicata and Western Sicily. The first part of the chapter describes the history of migration to Italy and the most relevant transformations occurred over the last years, as well as an overview of the relevant legislation on migration and racial discrimination at work. The second part, on the basis of two ethnographic studies realized by the two authors, analyses the complex intertwinement of structural and symbolic violence in determining the conditions of exploitation and discrimination of migrant seasonal labourers in the two areas. The study focuses on three topics: piecework payment; the ghettoization and segregation of seasonal labourers; the system of informal and illegal labour intermediation called caporalato. It is argued that that the main source of symbolic violence is represented by the brokers called caporali, who are usually of the same nationality of the labourers. If, on a certain extent, migrant workers perceive their ghettoization, discrimination and exploitation as ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’, this is due to the communitarian relationships built and manipulated by the caporali. On the contrary, the State and the local administrations seem to act exclusively as a source of structural violence. The national legislation on migration, as well as the lack of public policies concerning labour intermediation, transport and accommodation for seasonal labourers, appears as the main reason of the vulnerability of migrant workers in the considered areas.

Details

Race Discrimination and Management of Ethnic Diversity and Migration at Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-594-8

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2009

Lois Labrianidis and Theodosis Sykas

The purpose of this paper is to identify the preconditions for an upward economic mobility in time of immigrants working in agriculture. It argues this through an analysis…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the preconditions for an upward economic mobility in time of immigrants working in agriculture. It argues this through an analysis of immigrants in the Greek countryside and a comparison of their performance to immigrants working in rural areas of other major host countries, for which the research has shown stagnant or even deteriorating economic conditions over time.

Design/methodology/approach

Field research in two Northern Greek rural prefectures between May 2007 and January 2008. Use of questionnaires addressed to 165 immigrants and 40 key‐informants.

Findings

The immigrants' ability to improve their economic conditions stems mainly from three labour market characteristics which differentiate the Greek countryside from other major host countries' rural areas. The first is the interpersonal relation of mutual trust that is built between immigrants and farmers. This relationship provides immigrants with a steady employment and allows them to develop strategies to increase their income by either working within or outside agriculture. The second is the lack of intermediaries in the labour market which allows immigrants to freely negotiate their wages, to move from agriculture to non‐agricultural jobs, and thus to achieve upward occupational mobility. The third is the lack of competition between old and new immigrants, which does not negatively affect their day wages. Therefore, we conclude that the structural differences in the agricultural labour markets of different countries lead to different opportunities of immigrants' economic improvement.

Originality/value

Fills the major gap in the European and Greek literature of immigrants in the countryside and especially their socioeconomic mobility over time.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Labor Relations in Globalized Food
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-711-5

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2014

Abstract

Details

Labor Relations in Globalized Food
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-711-5

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Book part
Publication date: 30 May 2013

Eladio Arnalte-Alegre and Dionisio Ortiz-Miranda

This chapter presents an overview of the ‘big’ data of Mediterranean agriculture, with a special focus on the four EU countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece), in…

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of the ‘big’ data of Mediterranean agriculture, with a special focus on the four EU countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece), in order to provide a backdrop for the rest of cases analysed in the volume. In this regard, two thesis are discussed: the assumption that farming systems in the South have not followed the process of ‘productivist modernisation’ characterising post-war Northern European agricultural change, and that, precisely due to this reason, most holdings and regions from the South would have more possibilities to adapt to new approaches of multifunctional rural development.Thus, the chapter tackles both the static and dynamic structural traits of Southern agricultures and their differences with the North, as well as several aspects of the organisation of farming in the Mediterranean and other key components of productivist modernisation: farm intensification and specialisation. Later, the diffusion of multifunctional dynamics is addressed, in order to introduce some reflections about their meaning and scope in the Mediterranean regions. The chapter ends with a straightforward typology of Southern farming systems and a concluding section, which goes back to discuss the two initial theses.

Details

Agriculture in Mediterranean Europe: Between Old and New Paradigms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-597-5

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Article
Publication date: 24 May 2018

Shilpi Smita Panda and Nihar Ranjan Mishra

Seasonal labour migration is a common form of temporary migration where the work of the migrant labour depends on seasonal conditions and is performed only during that…

Abstract

Purpose

Seasonal labour migration is a common form of temporary migration where the work of the migrant labour depends on seasonal conditions and is performed only during that period of year. This paper aims to identify the factors and subfactors of temporary labour migration from the existing literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an extensive review of the literature on temporary labour migration. Studies done from 1990 to 2016 were considered for review. The literatures from research articles, book chapters, working papers, conference papers and field-based project reports from various disciplines, like economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology and management studies were reviewed for critically analysing various factors affecting seasonal labour migration.

Findings

A total of five key factors and 60 subfactors of temporary labour migration were documented from previous studies. The findings of the study are organized under five thematic segments: economic factors, social factors, environmental factors, policy-related factors and psychological factors New aspects of seasonal migration were identified such as “role of labour contractors ”, “inter-generational mobility”, “social networks”, “grassroot politics”, “migrant’s relationship with the agents”, “labour registration process”, “market intervention” and “civil society intervention” after consultation with the subject experts and field study.

Research limitations/implications

The paper restricts itself to include aspects of temporary labour migration. Only the factors and subfactors affecting temporary migration are taken into purview. Further the findings of the paper can be empirically tested to know the significance of each factor and subfactor.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for better understanding of the temporary labour migration process in different context by focussing extensively on the factors of migration. The factors identified can be empirically tested in regional and local context, which would provide effective insights for policy formulation for the welfare and protection of the migrant workers.

Originality/value

The paper fulfils an identified need to provide a holistic review for understanding and documenting various factors and subfactors that affect the process of temporary labour migration.

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