Roughly 150 locals attended an August 12 job fair to apply for jobs at the Koch Foods’ plants in Mississippi. The fair was run after the August 7 removal of 243 alleged illegal migrants in two of the company’s chicken processing plants, according to local authorities, as reported by Breitbart News. The company is also trying to hire workers with online ads. Local officials made sure the hiring process complied with federal hiring regulations, according to WAPT 16. Koch Foods is not part of the Koch brothers’ network of energy companies.
“By 10 a.m., a crowd of dozens was on hand … Most were black and spoke with accents from the American South. A few appeared white or Hispanic,” AP reported. From 2000 to 2009, the labor-force participation rate in Mississippi dropped by 9 percent, according to an August 8 report from Krikorian’s CIS. The drop from 78 percent to 69 percent leaves 494,000 U.S.-born adults out of the workforce in 2019, said the report, titled “The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the First Quarter of 2019.” The area’s unemployment is high, and the wages are low.
Federal data from 2018 shows that half of the meat cutters in the state were being paid less than $12.23 per hour. But wages have spiked upwards for Americans when employers were forced to give up their illegal workforces. Enforcement actions aided African-American bakers in Chicago and Somali refugees in Iowa and throughout the Midwest after the 2006 enforcement at the Swift & Co. meatpacking company.
But MSNBC’s correspondent Marian Atencio suggested that only Latinos can do the slaughterhouse jobs, saying:
This is pretty grueling work at these poultry plants and … poultry is an industry that has become — as many of these industries that rely on low skilled workers — dependent on Latin American immigration.