Quote Originally Posted by Adam Wood View Post
Simpler still: just lift the restrictions on piece-work pay. Let people pay what the actual value added to a product is to the worker instead of a contrived hourly rate. Pay, I dunno, a buck a pound for strawberries picked. I guarandamntee you that people will be crawling out of the woodwork to pick strawberry fields clean. I don't know what portion of the present cost of a pound of strawberries that you get in your grocery store is the cost of picking; maybe it's only 50˘ per pound, but either way it can be good money for those who master a trade, even a simple trade like picking strawberries. There are tradesmen who pick grapes in California for wineries who earn good money; there are tradesmen who pick pecans and almonds and pistachios and whatnot who earn reasonably good money. It is possible to have people doing what many consider "menial" work who can earn a good wage doing something very well that others don't know shit about. I can re-roof a house, but I guarantee you that I'm nowhere near as good at it as a professional roofer.

Use E-Verify on those people, and offer ex-cons transportation vouchers to get there, let the farm owners put them in dormitories for the season like they used to do with seasonal workers that they imported on buses, and you'll get those convicts working and get your farms picked before things wither on the vine.

There are easy solutions to this problem if we just get the damned interference out of the way.

With that having been said, I am still all for chain gangs. They were used with great effect here when I was a kid, and it meant simultaneously learning a trade, teaching convicts the value of a hard day's work, and getting public projects done. Convicts used to come and pave our streets, but they would do so with modern paving equipment, and they would work with and learn from engineers in the field as to how to properly build a road or a bridge or whatever. When they got out of prison, they could walk into a job with a paving company, usually at or near a supervisory level, and earn a decent wage while they were at it, greatly lowering recidivism.
The wholesale price of west Florida tomatoes varies between 24˘/lb in a bumper year to $1/lb after sever damage. The lowest retail price I have seen in the last 10 years is 79˘/lb and the highest was $2.49 in produce stands. The price in grocery stores is always higher and seems to bear little relation to actual conditions and be affect a lot by hype. I have seen Publix pump prices to close to $4/lb.

According to the Immokalee communist party and illegal immigration society, the pickers are paid 51˘ for a 32 lb bucket. They want 60˘. That would generate about $84 for 6 hours actual work in an 8 hour day.