Chinatown Falls on Hard Times
by Wilma Consul
NEW YORK, NY January 23, 2006 —Much of the Jewish Lower East Side has been lost over time replaced by new immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly China. Those seeking their fortunes in Manhattan's Chinatown are in for a surprise -- Chinatown has fallen on hard times. Its economy has not bounced back since the street closures caused by the collapse of the World Trade Towers on 9-11, but other factors have contributed to the downturn, too. Reporter Wilma Consul takes a look, and asks what's ahead for the neighborhood that was once an important immigrant enclave in the City.
REPORTER: Kwong says this newest group of immigrants has created a vibrant business sector that serves the needs of Chinese businesses everywhere.
KWONG: People will call all over the country, and say: Hey, you know I need three restaurant help. Could you send them over? It's almost like day laborer situation. They go all the way as south as Georgia, north as Maine and west as Chicago. So this is the heart of cheap labor supply.
REPORTER: This demand prompted the creation of the now very popular low-priced Chinatown buses. They transport Chinese speaking workers to their destinations without getting lost.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HD8081.A5 P365 2005
Immigrants Turn to Farm Work Amid Building Bust
Growers Regain A Source of Labor; Wage Gap Narrows
By MIRIAM JORDAN
June 13, 2008; Page A4
The building bust is turning out to be an unexpected boon for another industry, agriculture, as many Hispanic immigrants who lost construction jobs return to the fields in search of work.
In recent years, the ranks of farm workers had been thinned by a crackdown on illegal immigration coupled with the lure of better-paying construction jobs. That left farmers scrambling to find workers to harvest labor-intensive crops. Now, growers and labor contractors from Florida to California are reporting that former carpenters, dry wallers and painters are returning.
"We had seen the labor supply dwindling year after year," said Richard Quandt, president of the Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. This year, "we are surprised to have a lot of workers." The area grows strawberries, greens, broccoli, grapes and other vegetables and fruits.
June 13, 2008
The Working Poor in Mexico No Rest for the Working Poor
By Laura Carlsen
Globalization continues to break down its own myths, especially in developing countries.
In Mexico, the promise of more jobs withered shortly after NAFTA went into effect, when it became clear that displacement outpaced job generation. Now, its twin promise—that globalization would create better jobs and improve standards of living—has finally committed public suicide as well.
Ford and General Motors change their operations in Mexico. Ford announced a major investment in Mexico of over $2 billion this week. Alongside the self-congratulatory remarks of industry representatives and government officials, was an interesting tidbit of information. According to an AP report, at the Ford plant to be expanded in Cuautitlan—on the outskirts of Mexico City where the cost of living has been going up sharply—workers' wages would be cut in half from their current level of $4.50 an hour. Mexican union leaders stated that this was necessary to compete with China.
The same week, General Motors announced a $1.3 billion investment in its Coahuila, Mexico plant and the creation some 875 jobs (note the low job-to-investment ratio). It also announced the eventual closure of plants in Janesville, Wisconsin and Morraine, Ohio. The Mexican press noted that the company first hinted at the closure of its plant in Toluca, which elicited an immediate promise from the union leadership to accept wage reductions. It soon after announced it will remain open but cut back on operations and lay off some of the workers. Although the new contract terms were unavailable at the time of this writing, the trend is written on the wall.