Monday, June 18, 2007

Right (Write) on, Mark Kramer

Mark Kramer, president of JBK Landscape in Aurora, CO, perfectly described the employment issues so many companies are having — not being able to find decent workers — in an editorial in the Rocky Mountain News:

"Thirty years ago, hippies like Jim and me wanted to get dirty in the sun, grass and weeds. Americans don't today. When JBK Landscape advertises for laborers like Ricardo, we get just a trickle of applicants. It's not the money. We pay $14 an hour for skilled foremen and $25 an hour for snow removal. But these are outdoor jobs, in the sun, snow and sleet. My college-graduate son would rather work for $7 an hour as an assistant radio and television producer in Los Angeles.

So every year, JBK Landscape hires 45 of its 100 employees through the H-2B guest worker program. Without this program, we couldn't run our $5.2 million business."

Mark is absolutely right. Comprehensive immigration reform is a national priority, but both parties would rather bicker about the issue until it dies rather than actually making some tough decisions. If only half of Congress weren’t busy running for president right now, maybe we’d be able to get something actually done.

Read the rest of Mark’s editorial here. — Mike Seuffert

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