ERIC Number: ED362363
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Labor Market in the Central California Raisin Industry: Five Years after IRCA. California Agricultural Studies.
Alvarado, Andrew; And Others
This report examines the effects of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) on the raisin industry's labor market, and provides educators with background on California migrant workers and their deteriorating working conditions. Because the raisin harvest lasts only 3-4 weeks but employs 40,000-50,000 workers, any effects of IRCA on agricultural labor markets should be most visible in the raisin grape industry. Interviews were conducted with 125 raisin harvest workers, 323 growers, and 12 industry experts. The worker sample was 92 percent male, entirely Hispanic (94 percent born in Mexico), with a median age of 28. Workers' educational level averaged 6 years, and 87 percent understood little or no English. About 35 percent were working illegally. Raisin growers increasingly used farm labor contractors to hire and oversee workers. Use of contractors eliminated employer paperwork, avoided many government regulations, and reduced labor supply concerns. However, use of contractors also increased the "distance" between growers and workers and the possibility of unscrupulous middle-man practices, while contractor fees resulted in lower wages for workers. Fears that IRCA would reduce the supply of agricultural laborers have not materialized. Undocumented workers continue to provide an ample supply of workers, and growers remain dependent on this source as workers legalized by IRCA move to better jobs in other crops. Unfortunately, the ample labor supply has left employers disinterested in providing training or improved wages and benefits for their workers. Survey instruments for workers and growers are appended. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Labor, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California State Dept. of Employment Development, Sacramento.
Identifiers: California (Central); Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986