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Importing workers at national parks

June 02, 2007

Re "Short staffs are a bear for parks," May 27

The trouble in Yosemite Valley referred to in this article is not the lack of visas for people "from Ukraine to Ecuador." It is in Delaware North Co.'s cutting costs by hiring people who need visas. Before the company took over the concession in Yosemite Valley, many local people worked in the park and would no doubt do it again if they were offered decent compensation, as they used to be. Delaware North has turned the concession that it is supposed to run for the public into its own moneymaking machine. Until the company hires local people and pays decent wages, may its officials be sentenced to cleaning toilets, scrubbing showers, bagging groceries and making burgers.

Yosemite National Park is a national treasure for all to enjoy, not for Delaware North to make obscene profits.

TEDDI DULING

Tigard, Ore.

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So America's national park concessionaires complain that they can't import enough young workers from other countries to make beds and wash dishes? My 17-year-old nephew, who is about to graduate from high school in Oxnard, has a 3.8 grade point average, speaks English wonderfully and would love to work in a national park. But like tens of thousands of others who graduate each year from California high schools, he is undocumented, having been brought here by his parents when he was young. Why not let Californians like him -- born elsewhere but raised here -- begin to earn legal status by working at the Grand Canyon?

Kids like this already have a school record here and already live here. No need for park concessionaires to travel to the other side of the world and spend boatloads of taxpayer money seeking visas to import workers. There may not be enough "American" workers willing to take those service jobs, but there are plenty of non-Americans already in the U.S. Anybody listening in Congress?

KARL LAWSON

Camarillo

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I'm angry that catering companies have been importing workers at national parks. It is yet another example of greed and two-faced behavior by morally corrupt employers, who worship a supply-anddemand, no-governmentinterference business climate, as long as it works in their favor.

If market conditions dictate that companies have to raise wages to attract American workers, they abandon their principles and import workers -- to a national park, no less. I hope some member of Congress reads this article and takes action to ensure that this disgraceful practice ends soon.

STAN BROTHERS

Glendale

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Just how hard do employers try to get citizen workers? Do they post job notices on campuses and in outdoors publications? We don't know from the article. Instead, we read about employers' struggles with governmental failure of visa processing as the cause of their hiring woes. It sounds more like concessionaires have become spoiled by exploitable adult foreigners with no pressing schedule requirements and lower financial expectations, unlike U.S. college students.

BRENDA WALKER

Berkeley

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