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Big Business Has Role in Tomato Pickers' Wages

April 07, 2002

Re "Tomato Pickers Are Root of Own Stagnant Wages," Letters, March 24:

Francis Concannon's screed against tomato pickers demonstrated that he has a flawed understanding of the law of supply and demand, not to mention U.S. labor law. Clearly there is strong relationship between the supply of tomato pickers and wages. However, growers often manipulate wages by offering more pay or work than is available. Hungry workers take what they can get, a fact not lost on the growers. Just as important, when the tomato crop fails, the workers pay the biggest price, unemployment.

It is unfair for Concannon to criticize below-the-poverty-level workers for taking time off for collective action. Americans have a right to collective bargaining, not to mention freedom of speech.

Concannon was right in one respect. The large number of illegal workers, which is supported politically by big business looking to keep labor costs down, is a big factor in low wages.

Control of illegal immigration would raise the wages of U.S. workers. That's why there will never be reform. The politicians represent the interests of those who put them in power--big business.

Jim Corbett

San Clemente

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