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War VI: Pears

(September 15, 2006) Just outside of Santa Rosa, the Pears are rotting on the trees. Here's how the local paper described the problem:

Day laborers stand idle
Disconnect blamed on poor communication from growers, refusal of jobless to accept low wages
Pear Glut Worker Abundance
Even as pears rot this week in Lake County orchards, Latino workers wait for day jobs at labor centers around the North Coast. (PRESS DEMOCRAT)

You read that right. The paper blamed the problem on migrant (undocumented) workers' unwillingness to accept crummy wages. No, really. And this is a very liberal democratic neighborhood.

"The reason the pears are rotting is that the Latinos won't accept the low wages we're offering."

There are all sorts of reasons that an employer can face a labor shortage. Unwillingness to pay market rates is high on the list. When workers are abundant and opportunities scarce, employers can afford to be stingy with wages. When opportunities are plentiful and workers in short supply, things are different.

The growing pear disaster in Northern California is an extreme example of what can happen in labor markets when planning is not a part of the process. Labor supplies are tightening in a variety of sectors. Advance planning is necessary to make sure that adequate supplies are on hand when they are needed.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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