by Rob Hopkins

Why do we need TFW’s (Transient Fruit Workers) and Quebecois to reap our crops?

Locals will not work in the hot sun for up to 60 hours a week with no over-time pay and paid minimum wage. Somehow, those that refuse are labeled lazy. Most jobs are self explanatory, so why don’t you, yes, you that is now reading this, go make a few extra bucks out on the farm. We, as a society, expect others to do this work so that we, who all make more money than these labourers, can purchase fruit and vegetables more cheaply and keep the farms viable.

If these workers are therefore so important to our way of life, why are they treated like crap. Hard, laborious work is worth zero, but if you invest money from the comfort of your armchair, the govt will only tax half of your profits as capital gains. WTF (Where is Tne Fruit?)!?

Work is to be an offer (wages, job to be done, etc) from the employer, and a voluntary acceptance of these conditions by the employee. Unfortunately, as wage slaves, the employees agree to these conditions due to a lack of better options. Is this then the foundation of our society? Those without an education, regardless of reasons (inferior intellect, personality incompatibility, life choices, etc), are to blame, yes blame, for their own living hell, and deserve to work in this endless loop of despair so that we may have cheap products to buy as our own wages have not kept up with inflation.

We, the working class, are all in the same boat, but the ruling class keeps us continually at each others throats so that the status quo of their life of luxury is not negatively affected. Like it or not, you too feel that you are above doing this manual labour on the farm, and voluntarily do the work of the elites to ensure that you remain one of us with options, and not on the other side of the line comprised of those without.

Robin Hopkins

PS Editor’s note – are you in the “ruling class”? – do you own your own home, walk with confidence and that there is gold in the basement?

I don’t have the answer or all the answers I just think we need to talk a bit more about what what is the right direction – shall it leave it here and hope for intelligent responses.

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8 Responses to by Rob Hopkins

  1. Robin Hopkins says:

    I have read the comments, and want to elaborate.

    Firstly, TFWs are Temporary Foreign Workers.

    Secondly, the Ruling Class are extremely rich people who have the ability to influence govt policy for their own benefit. This is beyond the scope of even doctors, lawyers, trades people, etc. These are individuals, who along with their affiliated corporations, control the media and the news, and therefore the “facts” upon which we base our opinions. While at each others throats in a competitive self-interested way, corporate leaders bond together to ensure that their ability to make more money is not restricted by govt policy catering to the voting public. With the globalisation of everything, they have the ability to exploit human and natural resources in countries where the leaders really don’t care one iota about the citizens, catering instead to the influence of money. How do we compete against this as a country with rules and regulations.

    What I am saying is that the working class has long been exploited, and this specific picker issue is but a small part of a bigger problem. The Rulers would rather us just fix these individual small issues in isolation rather than wholesale change of the economic system which takes humanity into consideration. The tenets of supply and demand, and free market policy are thrown out the window when it tends to work in favour of the working class.

    Unskilled contract workers (Uber, Skip the Dishes, etc) and TFWs are just signs of a far bigger problem.

  2. Deborah Powers says:

    I have met and talked to many pickers and find they are nice people. They work hard and get treated like dirt by a lot of locals. A lot of them are students that come here to work for the summer. I have met some who are from other countries like Spain, Germany, Israel, Tibet and Czech Republic. I treat them like human beings and enjoy hearing their stories of places they’ve been. I think the one big thing missing is a decent place for the pickers to set up their tents. In my younger years I travelled to the Yukon and tented. Whitehorse has a campground designated for transient people for tenting only. It has a cook station, clean washrooms, a place to wash clothes and really nice camping areas. And the campsite is not far from Whitehorse. I don’t understand why Oliver and Osoyoos don’t have something similar.
    I’ve met a lot of local people in the dog park who do nothing but complain about the pickers. They don’t take the time to get to know the pickers who go to the park after a hard days picking. Maybe if they did they would actually have a better opinion of the pickers. I know I do as well as my friends.

    Publisher: In the last few years an annual thank you celebration has been held on or before St. Jean Baptiste Day at Lions Park. That is put on by the people of Oliver and supported by taxpayers, business etc. Generalizations are hurtful – some people on either side of the issue might be offended by the behavior of a few.

    • Jean-Michel Lampron says:

      Thanks Deborah for your support toward us pickers, remember having nice talks with you every time i would see you by the river with your dog. It is true that some of us, i like to believe they are fewer, are making the rest of us look bad, but for the rest of us who try to make a living of those picking job and succeed at it, it would be nice to have decent accommodation and more support from some local people. And i am sure having those would somehow attract more serious people to the job.

  3. Dave Evans says:

    I spent many hours picking on the farm, after school, on week ends and holidays. For apple picking instead of school . Still having time for music lessons, following my Dad for fishing and then made a life of farming and community service. Why are the schools reluctant to let the students out when needed on the farms.? Working as a family will maintain the family farms future. Are we really looking forward to large corporate agriculture?

  4. Ed Schmalz says:

    In our younger years, I, as well as many of the local youth, picked almost all of the types of fruit grown in the Okanagan, as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, cantelope, potatoes. You have never lived, really, until you have had the pleasure of picking tomatoes in the field under the hot Okanagan sun. Physical work is usually hard but normally this work is quite pleasant and the pay is fair. If you really wanted to hustle, you could make really good money.

  5. Helene Godin says:

    Anybody who posts comments here and elsewhere has ever had a real conversation with one of these pickers?

  6. Anna Machial says:

    The really puzzling thing about the locals not working in orchards is that a skilled picker can make far above minimum wage. That is one reason why the Quebecois keep on coming out here. Some of them simply don’t have the talent, and others want to make lots of money without getting the experience but many have made a career out of picking cherries. Picking apples is heavier work so many of them switch to grapes at that time. Then in our winter they either travel or go to Australia to pick some more. I would hardly call them wage slaves.

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