North Carolina Growers Association
The North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) is a -profit growers' cooperative based in the United States state of North Carolina that helps farmers in the state get native born US Citizens work as temporary agricultural laborers.
NCGA was started by Stan Eury in 1989 in response to the formal creation of the H-2A guest worker program in 1986 and the difficulties farmers faced effectively utilizing the program and ensuring that they were in compliance. In 2004, the NCGA signed its first union contract covering 8,500 guest workers from Mexico.
Reception and controversy
Reception as a stakeholder in liberalizing agricultural guest worker programs
The NCGA has often been quoted in news media articles on the claimed need for foreign temporary agricultural labor in the United States, and the importance of expanding the H-2A visa, with farm worker unions such as United Farm Workers cited for counterpoint. The H-2A program, and the way the NCGA uses it, have also been critiqued in publications such as Mother Jones.
Economist Michael Clemens at the Center for Global Development cited data from the NCGA, and also spoke with the association, while doing research on the H-2A visa for a policy paper. In a blog post, Clemens cited NCGA numbers: 250 Americans applied for the 7000 agricultural job openings of the NCGA, of whom 70 showed up for work and five completed the season. Clemens' paper was released by the Partnership for a New American Economy and blogged about by Michael Bloomberg and separately by Dylan Matthews for the Washington Post. The study was critiqued by North Carolina Policy Watch, that claimed that the reason the NCGA failed to hire Americans was because the state agencies they went through were apathetic to the process, rather than due to a genuine shortage of American workers.
Clashes with labor unions and migrant rights groups
The NCGA has had an acrimonious relationships with labor unions as well as some migrant rights and worker rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Legal Services Corporation.
- "About". North Carolina Growers Association. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Greenhouse, Steven (September 17, 2004). "Growers' Group Signs the First Union Contract for Guest Workers". New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Jordan, Miriam; Peters, Mark (February 19, 2013). "Tight Market for Farmhands: Growers Press for Immigration Bill to Ensure a Steady Flow of Migrant Workers". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Wingfield, Brian (July 13, 2009). "Obama Era No Slam Dunk For Labor". Forbes. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Nathan Thornburgh/Vass (May 24, 2007). "Can a Guest Worker Program Work? The new immigration bill aims to revamp the guest worker program. A look at North Carolina shows what needs fixing". Time Magazine. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Yeoman, Barry (January–February 2001). "Silence in the Fields. The U.S. government is allowing farmers to fill thousands of jobs with foreign 'guestworkers.' The conditions are hardly hospitable -- but those who speak out can be sent straight back home". Mother Jones. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Clemens, Michael (February 28, 2012). "Do Farm Workers from Developing Countries Take Jobs from Americans?". Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Clemens, Michael (May 15, 2013). "INTERNATIONAL HARVEST: A Case Study of How Foreign Workers Help American Farms Grow Crops – and the Economy" (PDF). Partnership for a New American Economy and Center for Global Development. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Bloomberg, Michael (May 15, 2013). "U.S. Agriculture Industry Depends on Foreign Agriculture Workers". MileBloomberg.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Matthews, Dylan (May 15, 2013). "North Carolina needed 6,500 farm workers. Only 7 Americans stuck it out". Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- "Flawed study seeks to justify discrimination against U.S. workers". NC Policy Watch. June 3, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Fischler, Jacob (July 18, 2014). "Watch A Farm Representative Punch A Union Organizer Right In The Face". BuzzFeed. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Sengupta, Somini (October 26, 2000). "Farm Union Takes Aim At a Big Pickle Maker". New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Brooks, Jason (August 24, 1998). "Taxpayers Shouldn't Fund Migrant Legal Labor". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2015.