Only 16 Americans have taken the United Farm Workers up on their challenge to take a migrant farm worker job, part of their “Take Our Jobs” campaign.
It’s proof that if these jobs were left to Americans, crops would rot, produce prices would soar, and we’d be forced to import even more fruits and vegetables from Latin America and elsewhere. It would mean we’d have to forget about the concept of fresh produce.
It’s an unsustainable situation, as Stephen Colbert eloquently explained Sept. 24 in testimony before a Congressional Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.
Stephen Colbert last night pledged on his TV show that he’d be taking United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodríguez up on his offer to “take back an American job” from “an illegal immigrant.” I’m not sure when Colbert is going, but I’m thinking of finding out so I can follow Colbert and report on it.
(I’m a huge fan, and think his best work is in the field, where life unfolds. It’s his spontaneous quips that make me laugh out loud. That and intelligent sentiment behind the joke that lingers.)
But I’m also interested in seeing, up close, how Colbert’s experience will help shape public opinion. Humor and logic, combined, are a powerful force. Colbert will, no doubt, reveal the abusive, exploitative drudgery that is farm work. Colbert’s presence will also create even more publicity for the campaign and will shift the American dialogue from the nonsensical “what part of illegal do you not understand?” to conversations about creating an affordable food supply that does not rely on indentured servitude.
Rodríguez is the mastermind behind the UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which challenges anyone who wants a farmworker job, to step right up. So far, he said only three people have taken the UFW up on it.
I’d like to see the unions of the poultry and meat packing industries do the same. Working in a slaughterhouse is grueling and dangerous. You come home smelling of blood and your fingers never thaw out. Oh, what’s that? Most of that industry is not unionized? Never mind.
… I’m also looking forward to seeing Colbert under the blazing sun, sweat dripping down his bare chest. (I know there’s a sexy man underneath the stuffy clothes, conservative eyeglasses, and all that Vitalis.)