Big Meat Braces for a Labor ShortageIssue 02-13-17 |
Over a third of the 441,000+ workers at U.S. slaughterhouses and meat packing plants are immigrants. The jobs are low skilled and do not require English language capabilities. Pay and benefits are typically above minimum wage levels and are sufficient for supporting a family and building the American Dream. This has been a route for many refugees and immigrants from East Africa to find their first job and get settled.
Trump’s travel and refugee ban, however, has led to uncertainty over whether this source of labor will continue to be available for America’s meat processing industry. It has also caused anxiety among current workers who were planning on having family members join them in living the American Dream like many immigrants before them. The potential impact of the travel ban on employers, employees and their families, and consumers is described.