There is no longer any question that refugees are a US State Department-supplied transient migrant labor force moving around the country following short-lived needs for factory workers.
So everyone needs to stop the propaganda about this being a strictly humanitarian program and stop denigrating local citizens who have questions about supporting it with their tax dollar!
In my alerts this morning there was a short blurb about a company closing its doors in Aberdeen, South Dakota and it listed Lutheran Social Services South Dakota (a subcontractor of LIRS) there as one agency for refugee workers to access for help finding work and counseling.
I was interested in the story because South Dakota was one of the stops in my 6000 plus mile trip around America in the summer of 2016 to see how refugee labor was affecting American communities.And, I wondered what does LSSSD have to do with Molded Fiber Glass?
(I can only guess that Molded Fiber Glass, which makes blades for wind turbines, must be suffering from a decline in interest in wind energy (a story for another blog!)).
Here is the bit of news about the company laying off its workforce:
Molded Fiber Glass employees learned Wednesday morning that they’ll only have their jobs for about two more months.
Workers will be laid off as operations wrap up at the plant, which is expected to close by Feb. 15, 2018. As a result, 409 people will out of jobs.
A list of Aberdeen organizations that provide services to those who need assistance — from basic needs to job placement — follows.
Lutheran Social Services: 110 Sixth Ave. S.E., Suite 200, 605-229-1500
Lutheran Social Services provides individual counseling and mental health to the general population.
The Center for New Americans – a division of Lutheran Social Services – provides case management employment training and employment assistance from a refugee’s arrival for up to five years. It also provides employers of refugees with interpretation services and training, according to director Tim Jurgens.
So I looked around and what did I find?
An article that tells us that only a few years ago Molded Fiber Glass lured refugee workers from other states to fill out its South Dakota workforce. A work force which they will now fire!
The lesson here is that refugees placed by the US State Department and its contractors*** may not stay where they were placed, but move around the country looking for better work situations (it is called secondary migration in refugee industry lingo) and in so doing disrupt, for only a short time in some cases, your local community.
This is a 2016 story where Molded Fiber Glass is crowing about its refugee laborers—half of the plant workforce! And, now in 2017 the plant has announced it will close. Oh well.
From The New American Economy:
South Dakota has an enviable problem, at least for workers: The state has a consistently low unemployment rate, typically about half the national average. This spring it dropped to 2.5 percent, the lowest in the country. For businesses, however—which are drawn to the state for its friendly tax policies and low utility costs—the view translates into one of worker scarcity. And it poses a critical problem: Who will staff their hotels and restaurants? Who will make the products they manufacture?
This is the dilemma David Giovannini faced when he arrived in Aberdeen, South Dakota in 2010 to run a new plant for Molded Fiber Glass, an Ohio-based manufacturer of composite material systems and processes. The Aberdeen facility makes blades for wind turbines. Given the rapidly expanding wind-energy market, the firm was perfectly poised for expansion – but it couldn’t find enough employees.
“South Dakota is a great place for companies to be, but the available workforce has been a little bit of an issue for us,” Giovannini says. “So for us to be able to handle our business levels we had to look at alternatives.”
Fortunately, Giovannini had a good place to look. Ninety miles away, in Huron, South Dakota, a hiring manager at a turkey processing plant had taken an innovative approach to finding labor.
Frustrated with the diminishing number of Latino immigrant workers holding legal work documents—and unable to rely on American-born workers to apply for the grueling jobs—Mark “Smoky” Heuston of Dakota Provisions had decided to recruit refugees, traveling 300 miles to do so. [I learned in my travels the meatpacking was a well-paying job Americans did want to do until the industry discovered immigrant labor willing to work for less and was less demanding on management—ed]
By the way, a citizen of Huron had arranged a meeting for me with “Smoky” when I passed through Huron on my 2016 trip, but he cancelled it abruptly the night before.
Giovannini liked what he saw, gained an introduction to Karen community leaders, and slowly started hiring them. That was in 2011, when his Aberdeen plant employed 150 people. Today it employs 600, half of whom are American-born. “If we had not been able to tap into that reservoir of people, we would have had difficulty,” he says. “Quite frankly, the refugee workers have been critical to our success as a company.”
Molded Fiber Glass pays above-average wages and offers benefits that rank in the top quartile for the area. It gives employees tuition-assistance for related college coursework and pays its immigrant workers to take English-language classes. In addition, human resources staff help refugees navigate life outside of work, assisting them in finding housing, cars, and doctors. They also help them read bills or school forms.
The investment has been well worth it, the company says. Production has more than tripled, and the town has benefited from the influx of young workers and families.
With an aging population and young people increasingly moving to urban areas, South Dakota as a whole has been struggling economically. “The refugees have begun to meld into the community, so it’s also an economic boom for Aberdeen,” Giovannini says. [Unless they can find other work in Aberdeen, I guess they will have to unmeld now and move on!—ed]
And where the company once had to heavily recruit for labor, it now merely continues to treat workers well and lets word-of-mouth take over. Refugees have traveled from as far as Texas, Alaska, and Georgia to apply for jobs. “We still advertise, but not to the extent that we used to do it,” Giovannini says.
Ho hum, now what? The refugees move on to another town and another company.
And, to think we taxpayers pay for their movement to America facilitated by the US State Department and its contractors so that businesses can have a ready supply of cheap labor that disrupts your town with a needy transient population!
And, our tax dollars pay for Lutheran Social Service of South Dakota to take care of their needs when a business dumps them.
See my archive on South Dakota here. The Burmese, soon to be unemployed, have been less disruptive than the Somalis moving there for meatpacking work.
***These are the nine federal resettlement contractors paid by you to place refugees in your towns and cities so that companies like Molded Fiber Glass can obtain a workforce. The employment headhunters, the middlemen, get paid by the head for their ‘charitable good works,’ so they have no incentive to ever see a reduction in numbers.
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)