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The ANLA vs. America Just Take What You Need . . .


I went to the grocery store yesterday and filled up the cart with everything from apples to zinc vitamins. I think the total bill was about $235.00, which isn't all that much for a week for a family of five . . . The cool thing was that I pocketed some toothpaste and a bag of coffee . . . That saved me at least $12.00 . . . Oh, yeah . . . And the other day I went through the drive-thru and gave the guy a $10.00 bill and he gave me the change for a $20.00 . . . Man what a sucker that guy was . . .

And then, the other night I was driving home and it was kinda late and since nobody was on the road I threw back a beer and ran right through about five red lights . . . Saved a ton of time and, of course, threw the empty out on the street just in case I got pulled over . . .

What . . . you think those things were bad?!? Well obviously you are not a member of the ANLA, because they think that following the law is a burden and unfair . . .

On page 72 you will find a news item about the President of ANLA challenging the new "Social Security No-Match" law because "asking small business owners to dedicate the resources necessary to comply with these regulations during critical seasonal times, when we are struggling to secure and maintain a workforce is not reasonable" . . .

So . . . If you are a small business and are hiring five guys, according to the ANLA, you should be able to take the toothpaste or drive through red lights because . . . Hey . . . You need those things and you need that time. After all, it takes longer to wait at five red lights than it does to check the SS number on five new employees. And it certainly costs more to buy that toothpaste than it does to notify the authorities that you have been deceived by an applicant . . . Forget America and forget any ethics, we need what we need and the end (our profit) surely justifies the means, especially when it comes to the bottom line . . .

Oh . . . I get it . . . Nobody else is checking so why should we . . . I mean every time my kids ask me if it is OK to go smoke a cigarette, and they justify it by telling me that all the other 8th graders are doing it, I say sure... Since they are, you should . . .

What a great reputation the nursery, landscape and agriculture business has achieved by the hiring of cheap and often illegal workers to fill those seasonal spots . . . Thank those in the ANLA when your taxes go up to pay for the services that those cheap laborers cannot afford. To think that by hiring cheap labor you are saving money is to say that you can run downhill the whole way but still end up at the starting point.

By whining about the need for labor they are taking away jobs from America's youth and America's poor. This means that the youth get into trouble and the poor rely even more on your taxes, not to mention that the cheap labor also drains your taxes, makes your kids' schools more crowded, makes the local wait at the emergency room last over 12 hours . . .

Ewwww Yuck . . . I must be a racist . . . I'm a meanie . . . Yeah . . . Me and Cesar Chavez . . .

Way to go ANLA . . . Instead of producing a more efficient way to hire legal workers you are advocating that your members ignore the law. Instead of making America a better place to live, you want a quick fix, you want it all, and you want it all now . . . Why don't you go into the inner cities and draw out those workers with incentives and decent pay . . .

Instead of giving us a reputation as a whining, selfish, and greedy industry, why don't you take the high road and help us all step up, do the right thing and gain a reputation as a leading industry in America . . .

Just some food for thought . . . or to choke on . . .

God Bless

George Schmok, Publisher

Older Comments
Name: Bruce GeersWrote in with general comment
Comment: Dear Mr. Schmock, Thank you for saying something that needed to be said in ways anyone should be able to understand. I agree whole-heartedly with your position on this matter. Sincerely, Bruce Geers Shoreline Sprinkling 135 N. State St. Zeeland MI 49464

Name: Terry ZennerWrote in with general comment
Comment: Congratulations on your integrity and courage to publish your editorial on this very important issue. The landscape industry has ignored, and actually driven, this issue for far too long. Rather than put time and money in to better training programs for our youth, etc, I see landscape contractors on multimillion dollar homes pull up in 25 year old trucks to deliver illegal irrigation installers and landscape planters, etc., then pull up at the club Friday night in their pimped out Escalades. They are hurting the local economy, definitely costing jobs and thumbing their nose at the rest of the taxpaying public. 15 to 20 illegals will rent an apartment or house they share and jam up the neighborhood with vehicles. Someone has to pay for the schools, hospitals and other services, but as long as certain landscapers are personally riding the prosperity wave, they just don't care. I am glad you clearly stated your case, and commend you for your stand.

Name: Steve CisselWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member: George, Ironic that the acronym for your publication (LOL) is also Internet slang for 'laugh out loud'. It appears to me that your slander of ANLA (and hard working green industry people) is an attempt to get free press by deploying 'shock value' tactics. You'll be glad to know your strategy is working. Your 'thoughtful' ramblings are showing up in every inbox of every inbox of every green industry association: and every association member nationwide. In my opinion, the level of naivity you convey about the migrant labor issue is what is truly shocking. This great country allows your right to free speach. You have every right to express your opinion. Heck, it's your pub. However, you overlooked a tactful approach. I wish you well as you move into the mode of 'damage control'. Sincerely, Steve Steve Cissel CEO 10-20 Media, Inc.

Name: gary oberfoellWrote in with general comment
Comment: Wow, you speak as if you know nothing about our industry. We pay all of our people well. It doesn't matter if you are Black, white, hispanic or a green horn college student. Good business people know that if you pay your people well, you won't have to spend the time to go out again and re-hire more people. Your analogies are way off base and hit alot of good hard working people with a very broad stroke. Why would we want to go through a program to hire people if we could just put an ad in the paper? We can't find people to do the jobs, plain and simple. Just because they are from another country doesn't mean they are being paid less. I won't go on because I am sure your mailbox will be full with comments from other people who totally disagree with you and will do it with a passion. Call me! Gary!

Name: John StoneWrote in with general comment
Comment: You live in a dream world George.JPS

Name: Ed OverdevestWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - Dear Mr. Schmok: Even though misperception and emotion leave little hope for reason to prevail in your case, let me at least offer a different perspective for your audience. Finding willing and able employees has been the increasing challenge for thousands of businesses, from landscaping to high-tech -- regardless of pay. Statutory hurdles that protect American worker interests in the various national guest worker programs coincidentally provide abundant evidence to support the impact of aging demographics and changing societal ambitions on the difficulties in meeting the labor needs of an expanding economy. Denigrating comments and false analogies do not counter this established fact. Trade organizations, such as ANLA, have long recognized this labor shortage dilemma and have led the difficult fight for a legal remedy. Unfortunately, folks such as you have helped to prolong the legislative stalemate by throwing the raw meat of distortion into the sad swirl of bias and zealotry. Your utopian labor solution invites some relevant questions as to another causal dimension of the dwindling supply of willing and able employees. If public education investments (totaling over $100,000 per student) have failed to prepare a certain percentage of our youth (urban and suburban) for the real world, how do we as employers overcome that shortcoming? More importantly, how do we motivate where a climate of complacency, disrespect, and self-entitlement have hardened and poisoned attitudes? According to your sociological calculus, business is to come to society's rescue in this instance where families, school systems, and government have collectively allowed an unfortunate portion of the next generation to fail. I look to you, Mr. Schmok, to lead by example so we might come to know the easy solution for this perplexing problem. At the same time, I invite you to convince the American public that they should willingly pay higher prices for goods and services to make possible the higher wages that you feel will readily solve this issue. At that point, I will applaud your service to our industry and our nation. Until then, I can only echo the dismay of others with your ill-founded opinions and your volatile rhetoric. Ed Overdevest

Name: Ron HellendallWrote in with general comment
Comment: Mr. George Schmok: I wanted to make sure you were aware of the response to your comments regarding ANLA on the ANLA listserve. Below is a response to a direct email from from one ANLA member: =========== Edward Knapton: You are missing the point entirely of Mr. Schmok's essay. Did you even read the excerpt in my message? The part about 'going to the inner city...'. I suggest you read 'Up South' by Matthew Countryman, a non-fiction account of the life of blacks in Philadelphia in the 20th century. Yes Philadelphia, one of the most liberal cities in the country, home of those devout abolitionist Quakers, city of THE first 'Committee on Human Relations (1948). Of course you were aware that when US Steel needed workers for its new plant in the Philadelphia suburbs in the 1950s they hired the Levitt brothers - yeah the same outfit as the famous Long Island community - with the full knowledge that Levitt's company policy was not to sell to blacks. Single family dwellings to house 20,000 well paying jobs and not a one to a black family (by the way, the policy was identical on Long Island). The vast majority of workers moved from Philly....except of course, if your skin was tee wrong color. And why did the Levitt's have this policy? Because the whites demanded it. Think this is history Mr. Knapton? Of course you do. Show me a memorial to the Holocaust in any major city (and my parents are Holocaust survivors). Sure. No problem. Show me a memorial to slavery in any major city. Ron Hellendall

Name: Tim CaldwellWrote in with general comment
Comment: Mr. Schmok, Loved the logic, or lack there of, of the article. You make it sound so simple. If it is, why haven't you gotten Congress to pass the necessary legislation to make it simple. It seems, if its so easy to do, you would spend more time working and writing to members of Congress than trying to scold the American workers you so easily criticize! I take offense for the simple truth that I am an American citizen thats trying to make a decent living by following the rules, but can't get Americans to work in this industry for the going wages. Simple solution you say is to pay more! Sure, but the American public won't pay the increased costs associated with the labor increases we would have to pay the workers. And lets not talk about the added taxes associated with higher wages we would incure. But we could just pass that on to the consumer as well, right? As for taking "American jobs" issue, show me an American that has strived their whole life in the persuit to become a "sesonal worker". I kow that's what I'm hoping for my children! NOT!! Get educated about the entire issue, not just the narrow topic you've choosen. Better yet, become a small business owner and see what the real world is like!! Tim Caldwell, LA, CLT Small Business owner for 10 years!

Name: Joseph HillenmeyerWrote in with comment
Comment: ANLA Member - Your editorial on ANLA was the most arbitrary lot of uneducated rambling I have ever read. You have obviously not been involved in the day - to - day operations of an industry of which you are publishing information about: and your analogies are based on???? NEVER have i been so disappointed with such ignorance. From this point on you will be going directly to junk mail. I can think of no more eloquent way to say that your diatribe was completely full of shit. I would recommend you do a little bit more A. research concerning your topic and B. put a little bit more thought into who your subscribers and advertisers are. I feel confident in saying you have lost many of both with your afore mentioned remarks. Best of luck digging you way out of this.

Name: Ron LudekensWrote in with general comment
Comment: George, I am a fellow brother in Christ and have appreciated you and your magazines. But this editorial even makes my calm blood boil. The nursery and agriculture industry has been trying for years to get congress/government to fix a very broken immigration system. You should be fixing your vexation at the legislators who are unwilling to get anything done! ANLA has helped take the lead to properly fix the system through legislation. 1) There are not enough workers. Yesterday we had a large order of pomegranate plants canceled (supposed to ship this week) because the farmer could not get labor to plant them. He also could not pay for them becuase he left over 25% of his crop on the trees for lack of labor. I hear this every day in the San Joaquin Valley. 2) We harvest trees in the winter when the field laborers have little to do. We cannot get enough labor even then. I am moving to every form of automation possible to keep in business. 3) We hire only legal workers - complete with all proper paperwork. Many are turned away. By the time the mismatch letters arrive many months from the hiring date and long after their seasonal work is through, we will discover a percentage of that paperwork was fraudulent. Did you know that this broken system makes it illegal to pre-screen social security numbers or INS numbers until after you have put the expense into hiring them and training them? When we do find we have a worker who does not have matching numbers, then we must give them a chance to clear up any mistakes. If not cleared, we have the privilege of looking the man or women in the eye and see the tears as we let them go. No dinner for their children. 4) You are grossly mistaken that the agriculture industry is greedy. I could make a lot more money in a lot easier manner than these 70-90 hour work weeks but I am committed to the 140 year round employees and their precious families. They depend upon us for their livelyhood. Your comments are an attack upon me and I resent it. I wish I had time to go on because your editorial is so full on wrong and naive thinking. I do hope you will open your eyes to the reality around us because the issues is not a black and white abide by the law issue. The system is broken badly. Some day I hope you get the privilege of assisting a valued legal worker work through the process of becoming a citizen just so you can see how bad the system is. Please spend time considering thoughtfully the facts that ANLA is presenting on the immigration issues. It is not about wanting to violate the law. I know you will have had more than a little feedback on this topic. I hope your reputation and business is not harmed too much as you attacked the industry that you are a part of. Finally, if you were to consult Jesus over the immigration issue I think He would be a lot more compassionate for the men and women wanting to make a decent living and not so supportive of the Pharisaical structures that do nothing to protect us but make it difficult to work honestly. God Bless. Ron Ludekens

Name: Kathie SnodgrassWrote in with general comment
Comment: Yay, George! Finally somebody with some influence has the guts to call those who feel it's fine to hire illegals and pay low wages to task. Thank you!

Name: Erik WahlmanWrote in with general comment
Comment: Kudos, George! Thank you for saying (and publishing) in a national publication what should be obvious and should be being said by many! No... not everyone will like you.. or appreciate what you have said. But the thinking American will agree and appreciate and thank you for standing up and proclaiming the obvious ... "the emporer has no clothes on!" EW

Name: Linda CapranicaWrote in with general comment
Comment: Dear Mr. Schmok, Thank you for your recent article regarding the "cheating" that has taken over America's workforce. While your article was targeted at the employer it applies in every facet of our society. If our leaders (supposedly politicians and should include executives of large coporations) are talking about "personal responsibility" and living up to high standards themselves we could solve what is wrong with American Culture. I was greatly heartened to see that someone else is aware, concerned and doing something about the lack of values showing up in the USA. I hope you get to speak on this issue many times over.

Name: John EvansWrote in with general comment
Comment: I generally agree with the article EXCEPT for the statement that this is taking jobs away from America's youth and poor. At least in my area, those groups do not WANT to work for what the positions I have available pay.

Name: Sean WilliamsWrote in with general comment
Comment: THANK-YOU!!!!!! I am a landscape contractor in Arizona. My biggest problem here isn't the weather, it isn't taxes, it isn't the economy. IT'S CROOKED CONTRACTORS that take unfair advantage of the underground illegal workforce. Arizona's contractor associations also agree with the ANLA stance. I recently was contacted by the concrete paver contractor association here in AZ about this terrible situtation with the "No Match" law. I was tempted to write back and tell them that it can be nothing but GOOD for LAW ABIDING contractors that hire only legal workers, only pay what the job it actually worth, and pay all of our taxes. It's the contractors, THEIR contractors, that make life difficult for us honest and ethical guys! But I didn't for fear of being put on some kind of blacklist. Because if these organizations and their members are so willing to fight for their right to break these laws, it's probably wise to assume that lawfulness and fairplay aren't big concerns to them. The illegals from Mexico are NOT the problem. They are just the symptom. It's all of the contractors and their associations that just choose to obey the laws that are convenient to them... You will no doubt get A LOT of heat for the October commentary. Please don't let them push you around. There are a lot of patriotic Americans like myself that think you are RIGHT ON!

Name: David H. GanttWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - Dear Sir, With all due respect, are you so disconnected from our industry that you do not see both sides of this issue. We could debate all these points that you bring up, however I believe that the main point to be debated is that there is no available labor force other than immigrant labor in our industry. Do you not think that if we could fill these jobs with available local labor we wouldn't take advantage of it? Unemployment is at less than 5% nationwide. That means that for every 100 people 5 are not employed. I remember learning in school that that is total employment. In our industry labor is our most important issue. We do not like the way the system is now, but with Congress's failure to pass a comprehensive immigration policy with a guest worker program as its centerpiece we have no choice but to follow the hiring regulations as they are now. Until this issue is resolved on the federal level with some type of program, we should not have to be the ones burdened with handling the situation that they have dismissed. Please tell me this, what is your answer to this problem? How would you produce an "efficient way to hire legal workers"? We are following the existing laws in our hiring practices, how much more can we do if this existing system is not working? As a leader in our industry, you better than anyone, should know the pitfalls that we face everyday. How dare you represent us (the landscaping industry) with the attitude that ANLA is trying its best to second-guess the country and Congress all for the sake of cheap labor? ANLA has been at the forefront of this issue longer than any other industry (over 10 years). We recognized the need for reliable labor ever since the supply of labor started to diminish, decades ago. While on the other hand, demand for labor continues to rise. I deeply resent that you and your magazine have taken this stance on this issue. Sincerely, David H. Gantt President/Owner Springdale Outdoor Co.

Name: Robert DoliboisWrote in with comment
Comment: ANLA Member - Dear Sir: Based upon the editorial appearing in the October 2007 issue, you are embarrassingly uninformed on this topic. Cordially, Robert J. Dolibois

Name: Ed BemisWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - I do not see how stealing from a grocery store can, in any way, be compared to being disturbed about an ever increasing regulatory burden being placed on businesses of all sizes. Mr. Schmok may think he is not doing enough to provide myriad government agencies with information on his people, presses, trucks, etc. I would image he has already contacted these agencies offering to fill out more forms, and provide more information. But it is not his place to offer up me to do the same! Maybe the few people who feel this way do not have labor issues. More power to them. However this issue affects them if they buy plants or products from virtually anyone else in the industry. I have a retail garden center. I do not have anyone currently working here who wasn't born in the US. I do however buy from a number of larger growers. They are not able to find local help who is willing to do the work needed to produce a quality crop to sell to me. It is not entirely about money either. Finding local staff who are willing to do the hot and tedious jobs is difficult at best, and often impossible regardless of wages offered. High school students may not mind, or in some cases even relish, the work - but they are not able to provide any long term stable solution. Furthermore wage and hour laws very rightfully limit what they can do and for how long. Mr. Schmok, controversy and attention grabbing will do nothing to solve this issue, regardless how you feel about it. The ANLA has been working tirelessly for years to try to create a real fix for this very real problem. Ed Bemis

Name: Darrell DowneyWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - George, I want to be the first to compliment your courage in making the bold commentary regarding ANLA and its members. It is clear that you hold strong personal opinions on the issue; and you held nothing back in your remarks. Not many people would have the resolve to bite the hand that feeds them nearly as boldly and as sarcastically as you did. It is a good thing that you are the publisher; if not, you would have likely lost your job for clearly offending so many of your adverstisers and readers! Specifically, you portrayed landscapers and growers, your primary readers, as gluttonous shoplifters and wealthy drunk drivers. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, ANLA is working as hard as they know how to make things possible for their members to SURVIVE while complying with the law. Just recruit people from the inner cities? Your naivety closely matches your ill-chosen courage. If you want to climb another soapbox, go after Exxon. On that topic, I suspect that your "damage control" efforts will likely be something akin to their Valdez incident. Buenos Surtes (good luck) Darrell K Downey

Name: William StalterWrote in with general comment
Comment: Dear Mr Schmuck: You make Rush Limbaugh look like a screaming liberal. How about working a week at a reputable landscape contractor's business and getting your fingernails dirty for a change? You'll learn quickly about the labor issues facing landscape and building contractors, fishermen, hotels, motels, bars, restaurants and the rest of the service sector. I cannot believe how misinformed you are on this politically charged issue.

Name: bob couchWrote in with general comment
Comment: Sir: For someone who publishes an e-zine claiming to represent the landscape industry, I am shocked at how uninformed you are on this issue. You claim that the ANLA is advocating breaking the law. I have gone to Washington with my fellow ANLA members to lobby our congress to do something to fix this broken system, and believe me, nobody is yelling to break the law. It is an insult to hard working, honest people who want access to an available, legal workforce to compare them to shoplifters and drunk drivers. Why don't you try talking to people who are on the front line of this vitally important issue and learn the real facts instead of publishing the popular party line of the uninformed with drivel you call editorial comment. Bob Couch Sales Manager Dayton Bag and Burlap

Name: Norm CarlsonWrote in with general comment
Comment: It is sad to see the editor of a trade publication so obviously out of touch, uninformed, and ignorant of the facts relating to one of the most critical issues facing the industry he writes about. No one advocates disobeying or side-stepping the law. Let's genuinely reform the system and allow law-abiding, tax-paying businesses to operate using legal employees who can and will actually perform the duties they are being paid for. ANLA should be applauded for their efforts to generate meaningful change that will affect the entire US economy and protect the rights of everyone to operate legally, fairly, and ethically. This protection will extend not just to employers, but to the hard-working employees that allow our economy to function.

Name: Matt EdmundsonWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - George, Thank you so much for your thoughtful opinion! After being in business successfully for 27 years, you have brought to light many critical flaws in our business model and now I have solutions to my own, my customer and my supplier labor problems well into the future. Hey, maybe you can help the other farmers in labor intensive agriculture too with your wisdom. I have a few questions I can't seem to figure out. How do we get America's poor out in the fields to do the tough labor that cannot yet be mechanized? How much is a good wage to convince them to leave the subsidy they get in the cities and move to the farm country? How much annual salary should be paid when the work is only seasonal? If we hire America's youth, can we stay in business by only being open while they are out of school? Who drives the heavy machinery when the youth can't legally? If I pay more for labor, then how much more can I charge to recover the costs when other industries can more easily increase wages and raise prices on their wares? The only answers I get, aside from a workable guest worker program are as follows: We need more stupid people. We need to do a much worse job at educating our children so they have no hope of going to college. Then we can outsource those jobs overseas and we can continue to dig ditches and pick lettuce ourselves. Or we can import our ag products from overseas because we shouldnt have to worry about their health standards (mad cow, lead paint, etc.) Maybe we could outsource our military to China too, yeah, and our food supply and we can be safer! Or, we need solar powered robots. You know we dont want to impact global warming, so solar power, of course. We need a massive government investment in solar powered robots. We could then stay, like Iowa, 96% white, let our machines do all the harvesting, and watch reruns of Lawrence Welk and pretend we live in the late 50's still and that our we and our kids admire and strive to be solid blue collar workers willing to do the physical labor needed to feed the world and grow the plants that make our environment beautiful. We can reject all foreign things because America should be entirely self sufficent for all goods and labor, no matter if COULD delegate the "lesser value" production and jobs to places and people who think those are the greatest jobs in the world so WE and OUR CHILDREN can become educated and create the future of technology and services that raise our quality of life, making the big bucks because we let someone else do the "low value" work or products and used that marginal cost savings to do what leads to the greatest economy and country ever created, CONSUME. Im on my way to the ghetto to offer America's poor a job on the farm, so long as they aren't drunk, high, have a criminal record or are 40 years old living with their mom (probably a molester), or dont wanna work because they dont wanna pay the child support on their 9 kids with 9 moms. By George because of this new found reliable labor pool, I can raise wages 25%, promote the fact i use only legal labor, get all the sales from the xenophobes and charge to make up for it and advertise on and be out of business by the end of the year. You dont speak for the industry, you dont know many people in the industry if you actually, for a few ignorant sentences, attempt to propose a position of superior moral authority and ethics on this issue in the face of many many people, none of whom you know or have met, who are among the most moral, ethical, inspirational, non-greedy entrepreneurs and staff I have ever met in my life. You really should come to an ANLA event sometime, and meet all the whining, selfish and greedy folks in the association, it might just make the difference for your career.

Name: Bud EskolaWrote in with general comment
Comment: ANLA Member - George, it is fantastic to see your opinion on the labor issues facing the nursery industry so eloquently stated. I encourage all of your readers, and especially your advertizers to vote! With their feet!

Name: Rick DoesburgWrote in with general comment
Comment: George, Wow! I read both your October and November commentaries, and I think you really don't understand what is facing our (and should be your) industry and country. Your quote from the November issue is "In fact, the use of this labor force is stealing jobs from Americans, keeping thousands on welfare, and undermining the fabric of our society and our industry." I'll get back to this quote in a minute. I am Rick Doesburg ASLA, CCLP, and owner of Thornton Landscape, in the Cincinnati and Dayton markets and a fairly good size company. We are very active members of both PLANET and ONLA and I am a past president of both organizations (ALCA legacy). First, I subscribe to the theory there that should be no illegal workers and I am not a big fan of amnesty either. I currently do not have nor have I ever had any Hispanics or immigrants working for my company. Our employees all have been born and raised in and around Ohio. We have not needed to use immigrant labor, but I am not opposed to this labor force, they work hard, they show up and they care. The issue isn't about cheap labor, it is about having a legal work force that can produce the job with quality and efficiency, and will show up regularly and work safely. As stated by our government, unemployment is running around 4 percent. By most indicators that is considered almost full employment. It runs higher than that in the inner city and less than that as you move out from the city. The government has also stated that we must have a safe work environment (OSHA and Worker's Comp) and have a strong safety program (and as far as I'm concerned this is called good business). One of the ways we accomplish that is to do random drug testing. If you smoke pot or do other drugs then you can't work at Thornton Landscape. Yes we have had inner city workers apply for jobs, but most have had trouble with this issue. Our company is located 30 miles from downtown Cincinnati, where I can afford to have seven acres to operate my business. I also consider it a good business strategy to be located near where most of our work in located. We need workers who can get here or to the job sites. Also, because of insurance requirements, we also need a good percentage of our workers who have a fairly clean driving record if they are going to operate our trucks. Again, we have a giant problem with all of these issues when you are talking about the 4 percent that is available to hire. It is not my fault that there is very little business in the inner city; it's called concrete, blacktop and buildings. I believe that what most good companies in this county want are to have legal employees, and what our Associations are really trying to accomplish is a Temporary Workers Program (H2B & H2A) so that we can count on having the manpower to produce the work we can sell. It is not about cheap labor, it is about a dependable work force that is willing to work! Using immigrants isn't necessarily cheap. There is large cost involved with having these workers. My understanding of the Social Security No-Match Law is that we cannot ask for a person's Social Security number until they are hired. We, therefore, can't know if they are indeed illegal until after they are hired and we can legally ask them for their number. So now we have potentially just hired an illegal immigrant, and in doing so have followed the laws as stated, and it gets more complicated from there. This is the flaw in the system. The Social Security Administration, IRS and the Department of Homeland Security are not working together. Again, this is what our Associations are trying to fix, a system that is broken. Many of the 4 percent unemployed that we have to pick from do not want work, do not want to show up regularly and can't pass a drug test. Why should they have welfare. You kill the welfare program and a few things might change. I'll pay high wages to someone who cares and shows up, I will not pay high wages to those who don't show up and don't care. This is not about CHEAP LABOR, it is about good labor!!!!!! I am a subscriber! Rick Doesburg

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