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Refugees Fill Employment Vacuum in California Poultry Industry

August 02, 2017 (1 min read)

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2017 - "Refugees have increasingly become vital workers in an industry with high turnover.  And the growing unrest and bloodshed in the Middle East and elsewhere have readily supplied them in places like the Central Valley.  The refugee and immigrant populations ”certainly have been a significant part, an integral part of our workforce for decades,” said Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council.  It’s difficult to know exactly how many refugees work in this occupation but roughly one-third of workers in the industry in 2010 were foreign-born, according to a peer-reviewed article in Choices, a publication of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Assn., a nonprofit that serves those who work in agricultural and broadly related fields of applied economics.  Mark Lauritsen, director of the food-processing division at the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, estimates that nationwide tens of thousands of refugees are part of the roughly 250,000 unionized meat and poultry plant workers."