Sophia Lopez 0:03
“Migrant laborers happy in jobs says state agent,” from page two of the Chenango union July 16 1959. Read by Sophia Lopez.
Sophia Lopez 0:14
Before this year’s growing season ends, some 40,000 laborers will have migrated into New York State to take over a large part of the job of harvesting and processing farm crops.
Sophia Lopez 0:26
Horace M. Putnam, executive assistant to Commissioner Don J. Wickham of the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, said that approximately 300 of the 1,100 camps in which the migrant laborers will live while working in this State, are now in operation.
Sophia Lopez 0:45
Contrary to some popular conceptions, Putnam said, the agreements under which these workers are employed are quite satisfactory to the employers and the workers. These people volunteer for the jobs. They come north of their own free will to benefit themselves: The fact that many of them return, year after year is just about the best evidence that they are well treated and happy with the arrangement.
Sophia Lopez 1:11
These folks account for noticeable upsurges in the economy of each community where they shop or seek recreation. And while they spend a large share of what they make right here in New York, I know that some of them are using the surplus to pay for home in the South.
Sophia Lopez 1:30
Living conditions in the farm labor camps have to meet State and local requirements. We have had a series of recent meetings where we told employers about existing laws and new laws pertaining to migrant workers. These laws are designed to provide adequate quarters and at the same time not place prohibitive regulations on farmers and processing plants.
Sophia Lopez 1:55
I point out that most of the 40,000 migrant workers who will be in New York State before this season closes, depend on these jobs during slack seasons in their home states. It is a fact that we could carry on without them. Foreign labor is recruited only to the extent that the American supply falls short of the demand. Automation in the form of machinery for harvesting some of our crops in time may reduce the numbers of humans we need for relatively short periods. But at the moment these people are absolutely important to the agricultural economy of the State.