I would guess few of you are much familiar with Shelbyville, Tennessee. It is a small bucolic town saturated in the sort of genteel Southern grace that Hollywood assures its credulous audience is only a veil for hillbilly incest.
In addition to its gracious people, Shelbyville is renowned as a capital of the magnificent Tennessee Walking Horse. A beast whose immaculate habitat of emerald hills I once toured there. I recall meeting (so to speak) one champion of the breed who had been dispatched to stud duties, but refused to relinquish his seed to a human’s artificial ministrations. Instead he insisted, I was told, on a live mare–as was apparently his regal prerogative. I always respected that horse; a man should know his due.
And I always respected the charm of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Unfortunately beauty often withers under an accountant’s glare, and this little flower fared no better. For just out of an equine’s range-of-sight lurks one of the foulest corporate morality voids ever conceived: a Tyson poultry processing plant.
Now I consume some normal allotment of bird, and understand their meat doesn’t just materialize between buns at Chik-fil-A. Only purple-haired shitlib baristas hate every component of the supply-chain except its final discharge. So the object of my contempt is not that cocks must be decapitated, but who CEOs insist must wield the cleaver. That being–naturally–the immigrant people.
Before proceeding, we may as well reiterate for sake of new readers how this corporate flimflam is prepared for host community consumption. Every such facility arrives bearing promises of jobs! jobs! jobs! Though few ever grasp that this lusty tease is as barren as a brick. Because jobs do come with the plant, but just not for you. So thanks, stupid.
Corporate management will pantomime vehement denial of any such duplicity, and cite an open and transparent hiring regimen. They simply could find no one locally who wanted to stand in a pool of putrefying blood hacking off chicken heads for $12/hour. Which makes poultry workers much like yacht builders and prostitutes. All being occupations insufficient Americans will perform at the price Tyson executives wish to pay. Which would lead any rational economist to conclude America suffers a supply deficit in each. Thus the need for immediate foreign supplementation.
However, to understand this local labor need, you have to know a bit of history involving the company and the area. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the Hispanic population in Bedford County has exploded to 12.5 percent, the highest per capita in Tennessee. Many of these immigrants came here in the 1990’s to either work in the Tyson facility, or else take up jobs in agriculture or the Walking Horse industry…
In 2001, the Tyson plant here in Shelbyville was one of several across the country that were caught up in a federal investigation alleging that executives and managers of Tyson were involved in a conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens to their foods processing facilities.
Two local managers pled guilty, one took his own life and the rest were acquitted in federal court when the case finally came to trial. But it was soon after the Tyson trial that locals began to notice the Somalis moving into the area. Many living here, including some employed at the plant, have claimed that the company was replacing the Hispanics with Somalis, since they can guarantee they are in the country legally.
I would imagine it’s even easier to guarantee that a white man with a southern drawl is in the country legally. Possibly so easy that the inconveniences of incarceration or suicide could be avoided. I’m sure some Tyson executives briefly considered just hiring obvious Americans at sufficiently attractive wages, then living out their wealthy lives in a peaceful, harmonious community. But that was ridiculous.
And so the dead and imprisoned managers hiring mexicans have been replaced by a free-range variety hiring muslims. As a result, it is estimated that some five percent of the population there is now straight from Black Hawk Down crash sites, while another 10 and 12 percent are our own lovable AfAms and La Razas. Some other significant number are muslims from outside the Horn of Africa. A great many of which were brought in specifically as chicken helots. Of the approximately 1,100 Shelbyville Tyson workers, over a quarter are Somali and well below half are American according to some reports. Though just because these plants don’t actually bring jobs doesn’t mean they don’t bring problems.
There are so many difficulties; it’s hard to know where to begin. At the top of the list would have to be the attitude of the Somali refugees, which locals have consistently described as ‘rude and demanding’. This description comes from practically everyone who have encountered or interacted with them, from your average convenience store clerk all the way to law enforcement officers and other officials.
Off the record comments from public service officials have been worrisome as well. Firefighters have told me that the Somalis refused to evacuate their apartment complex during a blaze and when they respond to alarm calls, [a frequent occurrence] the firemen are told to leave and that they are not welcome there. Law enforcement reports a similar ‘lack of respect’ for their authority and I have been told off the record that many officers are hesitant to even patrol after dark the apartment complex where the Somalis live.
It has been reported to us that the refugees have no respect for these educators. Also, the Somalis have “unrealistic expectations” of what the school system provides. Apparently, someone had told the refugees that the schools furnish free child care and when the Somalis learned that wasn’t the case, they become very aggressive and demanding, insisting that the school system provide it.
They had no respect for neighbors and bad odors would come from their apartment into the halls and then into other peoples apartments. They also would hit other people’s vehicles and then claim they didn’t do it and also would get confrontational with other people and try and start arguments and fights. They would also run in and out all times of the night while yelling in the hallways and outside. My friends got to the point where they were afraid to come over. They totally brought the standard of living down at the apartment complex and it was a nice little place before that. I got tired of it after a while and moved into a house. They would be warned of the rules there but would continually break them and they didn’t care . . . they thought they were above that and treated the rest of the residents as though they were the outsiders.”
Fleeting African labor in exchange for eternal African misery–the fashion that never goes out of style.
That’s why this story from Nickerson, Nebraska was so heartening.
Regional economic development officials thought it was the perfect spot for a chicken processing plant that would liven up the 400-person town with 1,100 jobs, more than it had ever seen. When plans leaked out, though, there was no celebration, only furious opposition that culminated in residents packing the fire hall to complain the roads couldn’t handle the truck traffic, the stench from the plant would be unbearable and immigrants and out-of-towners would flood the area, overwhelming schools and changing the town’s character.
In the long-run men learn nothing. But it’s not that long a run from Shelbyville.
“Everyone was against it,” said Jackie Ladd, who has lived there for more than 30 years. “How many jobs would it mean for people here? Not many.”
Jackie Ladd is struck by the comprehension that eludes so many others: pay is particularly poor in the jobs not given.
The village board unanimously voted against the proposed $300 million plant, and two weeks later, the company said they’d take their plant — and money — elsewhere.
Deep-rooted, rural agricultural communities around the U.S. are seeking economic investments to keep from shedding residents, but those very places face trade-offs that increasing numbers of those who oppose meat processing plants say threaten to burden their way of life and bring in outsiders.
“Maybe it’s just an issue of the times in which we live in which so many people want certain things but they don’t want the inconveniences that go with them,” said Chris Young, executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors.
Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, a place to call their own free from the morning call to prayers. It’s just a weird quirk of our age that people want to live without normal inconveniences.
Nickerson fought against Georgia-based Lincoln Premium Poultry, which wanted to process 1.6 million chickens a week for warehouse chain Costco. It was a similar story in Turlock, California, which turned down a hog-processing plant last fall, and Port Arthur, Texas, where residents last week stopped a meat processing plant.
Both (race and religion) were raised at the raucous April 4 meeting where the local board rejected the plant. One speaker said he’d toured a chicken processing plant elsewhere and felt nervous because most of the workers were minorities.
Approximately 90% of the Earth’s population are “minorities.” Which must generate an abundance of social grievance against the 10% white majority. Though there’s an exotic organizational concept I’ve been teasing out on my CAD software recently. If there were such things as “separate countries” then everyone could be the happy majority in their own. I’ll run the numbers again to see if the results are repeatable.
More overtly, John Wiegert, from nearby Fremont where two meat processors employ many immigrants, questioned whether Nickerson’s plant would attract legal immigrants from Somalia — more than 1,000 of whom have moved to other Nebraska cities for similar jobs, along with people from Mexico, Central America and Southeast Asia.
Others pointed out that, given Nebraska’s unemployment rate is among the nation’s lowest near 3 percent, few local residents would accept the entry-level jobs.
They probably wouldn’t accept them at the prevailing Mogadishu wage-rate, no. Though CEOs are lavished in compensation for their capacity to envision some alternative.
People seem to be more willing than in earlier eras to fight developments they think could harm the environment or change an area’s character, University of Nebraska-Lincoln economics professor Eric Thompson said, even if the development offers an economic boost.
Amazing to discover that even humans can learn rudimentary lessons from severe negative reinforcement. Of course this is all a mystery to economics professors who presume a man should insert his penis into a paper shredder if there were a dollar on the other side.
“I’ve lived in exotic places, but I’ve never wanted to live anywhere but here,” said Chuck Folsom, an 88-year-old former Marine and farmer. “We’ve got to protect the land. We’re not making any more of it.”
Chuck knows exotic places have developed a remarkable mobility. And protecting the land means protecting your own stewards upon it. These being concepts it doesn’t even cost an extra .17 cents/pound to digest.