Farm Workers Dare Xenophobes to Take Jobs

But mind the fine print: It's temp work with barely legal pay, perfectly legal overtime exemption and you'll probably get heat stroke.

By Kai Wright Jun 26, 2010

[This is brilliant]( Harvest season has begun, and that means legions of crop workers–at least half of whom are undocumented and three-quarters of whom are foreign born–are about to spring into action. That’s nearly a million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and presumably just the sort of thing the protect-our-borders crowd is talking about when fretting over undocumented immigrants stealing American jobs. The United Farm Workers of America guesses that’s, well, a load of manure and has launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to make the point: []( Anyone who wants a harvesting gig this summer can go to the site and submit contact info, which will be forwarded to a state job bank. Of course, there’s that pesky fine print about how farm work is consistently identified by the Labor Department as among the 10 most dangerous, due to heat stroke. And the fact that it’s exempted from federal rules on overtime pay for the six-day weeks and 10-hour shifts the short harvest season demands. Or the fact that many small farms don’t even pay minimum wage. Oh, and when harvest season’s done you’re out of a job–and there’s none of that severance and unemployment insurance stuff, either. So, have at it. As UFWA head [Arturo Rodriguez told the AP](, "I don’t think there will be many takers, but the offer is being made. Let’s see what happens." Yeah, let’s see. The Colbert Report’s going to feature the campaign on July 8, according to AP. *Photo: Getty/Sandy Huffaker*