Like many out-of-touch Republicans in recent months, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been crowing about the need to bring more foreign workers to this country, including to America’s Dairyland. And not just to milk cows or make those squeaky cheese curds.
He wants us to remain competitive, so the sales pitch goes, in all job categories.
Echoing Walker’s claim that our state simply cannot survive without immigrants is Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s chamber of commerce that like most chambers nationally has an unwritten rule encouraging the displacement of American workers.
“The American economy needs immigration reform, certainly the Wisconsin economy does,” said Bauer.
In a recent Huffington Post story noting GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s active role in trying to force Amnesty No. 8 down the throats of the American people, it was noted that he “represents a southeast Wisconsin district (1st) in a state that relies on the manufacturers of Waukesha engines, Kohler generators and numerous supply chains. The companies are counting on immigrants to fill future factory jobs.”
Had the reporter, who got a helping hand here from Associated Press reporter Jim Kuhnhenn, done her homework she might have asked either Walker or Bauer, “What about our unemployed residents, especially blacks? Why can’t they fill those factory jobs?”
Good reporters ask questions like that.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin’s U-6 unemployment figures in 2012 for blacks and Hispanics were 18.7 percent and 11.4, respectively; for all of Wisconsin it was 14.1 percent.
Is importing more foreign workers with few skills and no more than a high school education to compete with the nation’s most vulnerable citizens in a dismal job market the only answer to Wisconsin’s “labor shortage?” If, after a good-faith effort to hire Wisconsinites to fill these factory positions employers are still short of needed workers, why not recruit Americans from surrounding states?
Late last year, Menard’s did just that to deal with a labor shortage in North Dakota. Every week the home improvement company flew in 50 workers from Wisconsin and put them up in hotels.
President John Adams wrote that facts are stubborn things; here is a very unpleasant fact that we simply can no longer tolerate:
If you are among the 22 million Americans who can’t find full-time work, remember that the Scott Walkers and Kurt Bauers of this country aren’t counting on you to keep the lights on in our factories or anyplace else.