Editorial: Yakama guest worker program a bad idea
"Upon further review, we don't think a guest worker program to fingerprint and photograph all nontribal workers on the Yakama reservation and collect 50 cents for every hour they work is such a good idea after all.

Schaptakay Labor Works LLC has been licensed by the tribal council to develop and carry out a for-profit guest worker program on the 1.2 million-acre reservation.

While we originally thought it was worth exploring, follow-up reports would indicate that the program falls well short of being a bona fide immigration reform effort. A guest worker program is only one part of needed immigration reform and this local proposal smacks of being more of an employer shakedown than a solution for workforce shortages.

The fee would raise about $12.6 million a year for the company, and we're not sure what's in it for the employers, except for a significant cost of doing business. A firm with 25 full-time nontribal employees, working 40-hour weeks, would pay $26,000 at 50 cents per hour for 52 weeks.

Schaptakay co-owners Hal Kent and Wendell Hannigan said their plan is to assure a legal and stable work force on the reservation while ridding it of much crime. But we're not sure how tracking workers in the company's database would do that. And the phrase "all nontribal workers" would involve more than just immigrant labor, legal or illegal, working in the fields and packing houses. It seems it would extend to the likes of teenagers working at McDonald's, too."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Guest worker program raises more red flags than solutions (The Yakima Herald-Republic 11/20)

Related Stories:
Yakama Nation guest worker program debated (11/18)
Editorial: Yakama Nation guest-worker program (10/27)
Yakama Nation approves guest-worker program (10/21)