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The Chicken TrailFollowing Workers, Migrants, and Corporations across the Americas$
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Kathleen C. Schwartzman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451164

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451164.001.0001

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Where Have All the Workers Gone?

Where Have All the Workers Gone?

(p.30) 3 Where Have All the Workers Gone?
The Chicken Trail

Kathleen C. Schwartzman

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines two conventional explanations for the ethnic succession involving Hispanics and African Americans in the poultry industry in the South: first, Hispanics filled vacancies and second, Hispanics supplemented the existing workforce. The assertion that recent immigrants took the jobs nobody wanted implies that labor market vacancies existed because native labor turned away from undesirable, dangerous, and poorly compensated jobs. These job vacancies were filled by available Hispanic workers. The second explanation, that immigrants supplemented the existing labor force, focuses on new labor shortages and argues that the need for labor expanded as industry expanded. In other words, Hispanics were hired to supplement the existing labor force. The chapter offers arguments and data challenging both theories, and instead attribute ethnic succession to labor displacement, an industry solution to labor-management conflict.

Keywords:   ethnic succession, Hispanics, African Americans, poultry industry, immigrants, labor market, job vacancies, labor force, labor shortage, labor displacement

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