Wages, Worker Exploitation, and a ‘War’ Against Mexico Come Up at Santa Maria Forum
Monday, February 5, 2018 -by KELSEY BRUGGER- Santa Barbara Independent
Produce grower George Adam opened a forum for corporate farmers in Santa Maria on Friday by showing a slide that compared farmworker wages there to those in Mexico. Here, he said, farmers are struggling to pay high minimum wages while competing with Mexican farmers who pay laborers $5 an hour. “That has become a reality,” he said. “If we can still make our bottom line work, that’s a whole other reality.”
Adam, owner of Western Growers in Santa Maria, set the theme on what he suggested was a burdensome government, a viewpoint most speakers sustained. Attendees — the majority of whom were white, middle-aged male farmers who drank coffee and enjoyed wraps and fruit — also included Congressmember Salud Carbajal, county supervisors Steve Lavagnino and Joan Hartmann, and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.