I am a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and we have nine employees from Mexico. Shaun Duvall and I started an organization called Puentes/Bridges about 10 years ago to help us dairy farmers learn and understand the culture of our employees. The cornerstone is our annual trips to the villages where our employees have come from. I have gone five times and Shaun has led 10 to 15 trips so far. We have studied this issue at depth. We agree with most of what Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Fuhrmann said.
We are however concerned about one paragraph on the first page entitled Corruption happens. It involves the reason for mistrust. We have found that it is not so much the feeling of mistrust but rather the fear of something that they value very much when coming to the United States. Their most important asset while working here is their job. It is why they are here and it is what gives them the money to achieve goals for their families and themselves. Linking fear, corruption and mistrust, I believe, paints a picture that is not accurate and helps fan inappropriate stereotypes of these fine people. Rather understanding their devotion and cautious attitude to their work for reasons that are obvious explains this much better.
Employers have a stereotype as well, some of the times well earned, of taking advantage of a situation without regard to the welfare and concerns of their employees. If I were from Mexico, I would play it safe with my employer in case he or she was one of those that fit the stereotype.
It may be interesting for you to research the employment principles of W Edward Deming in regards to the employment of immigrants from Mexico. We find them so effective on our farm.
Thank you for such an appropriate article for a farm magazine.
John Rosenow, Cochrane, Wis.