Friday, June 20, 2008

The Brighter Side of High Fuel Costs

The rising gasoline prices are driving some illegals home.

From the Star Telegram:

By Constanza Morales

Fort Worth...

...But high gas prices are forcing contractors and day laborers to change how they do business, which is causing a ripple effect in other areas.

Construction projects and landscaping jobs are being delayed because contractors can’t afford to pick up workers. And workers faced with additional costs for gasoline or the purchase of a car are giving up on day-labor jobs and going back to their home countries...

Some laborers, like Pablo Trinidad, resort to carpooling to reduce gas costs. But Trinidad, 40, says fuel prices decrease the amount he’s able to send to his family in Puebla, Mexico, from $100 to $50.

"If things get worse, I will work only to pay for my ride to go back home," Trinidad said...

Juan Jose Leiva, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico, is staying home more and visits the labor center only twice a week.

"Patrons [contractors] are not paying enough now," said Leiva, who plans to return to Zacatecas in November...
Unscrupulous employers have used illegal immigrants to create a serfdom of low cost, disposable labor. Now that the cost of doing business has risen along with the gas prices, the employers of these illegals are feeling the crunch. The workers are being hit with a double whammy by the cost of food which is increasing along with gasoline.

Construction workers who don’t have to look for a job at the center or on streets are also facing difficulties because of the cost of fuel, and contractors won’t give them additional money or incentives to make up for the increase.

Javier Arias, owner of Masonry and Stucco Services of Dallas, said his company has 20 workers building a condominium in downtown Fort Worth, and many of them live in Dallas.

"The company can’t afford to pay for a transportation stipend," said Arias, chairman of the Hispanic Contractors Association of Texas. "None of them have told me, 'I can’t go to work because I can’t afford gas,’ but I’ve heard that many are gathering, carpooling and paying a share for gas."
American citizens are also carpooling to get to work. Secretaries, engineers, nurses and workers of all vocations are carpooling to get to work. The cities and state have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in HOV lanes on our freeways to encourage car pooling. Construction workers having to carpool is newsworthy?

Instead of losing clients, Vincent Flores, owner of Alamo Foundation and Repair of Fort Worth, lost two workers.

"I can’t guarantee more than three days of work per week for my employees, and unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for them to pay the bills," said Flores, who has a team of four workers.
A foundation company with one owner and four illegal immigrant workers is not a reputable business. Along with his "undocumented" workers, he most likely has been receiving "undocumented" income. Since his workers are off the books, he does not need much in the way of insurance on the books. The sad fact is that this fly by night foundation repair company has taken jobs from reputable firms that are insured and pay their workers a fair and reasonable wage.

Now that these workers are headed back to their home countries, many of these shady businesses will go under, as they should. Do you think a business that hires illegals cares one bit about the environmental rules and regulations that legit business owners have to follow? How about basic safety and sanitation practices, do you think those are high on the list of priorities for a company that hires illegals? I don't.

Businesses that hire illegals need to be punished as current law dictates. If the .gov would start enforcing the current immigration and hiring practice laws, even more illegals will decide it is time to go home. As the serf workforce is depleted, companies will be forced to hire U.S. citizens and do business out of the same rule book as the rest of us. I don't see a downside to that.


TexasFred said...

I guess every cloud really DOES have a silver lining...

catfish said...