From The Asian Reporter, V27, #7 (April 3, 2017),
pages 7 & 8.
Trump Winery in Virginia seeks more foreign
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — As President Donald Trump touts
job creation for Americans as a top priority, his son’s Virginia
winery is seeking permission to hire foreign workers to
cultivate its grapes.
Trump Vineyard Estates, better known as Trump Winery, asked
to bring in 29 workers this season through the federal H-2A visa
program, The Daily Progress reported. The program enables
agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic
workers to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to do agricultural
jobs or perform other temporary or seasonal services.
Trump Vineyard Estates, owned by Eric Trump, initially
applied for six foreign workers in December. Two months later,
the company applied for 23 more. Both job orders for Trump
Vineyard Estates say the primary tasks include planting and
cultivating vines, adding grow tubes, and pruning grape vines.
H-2A workers and U.S. workers in corresponding employment
must be paid a certain rate — $10.72 an hour for vineyard farm
workers in Virginia this year. Employers say they’ve been unable
to find American citizens to fill the jobs. At least three other
local vineyards also applied to hire foreign workers.
"It’s difficult to find people," said Libby Whitley, an
attorney who has worked with employers, including Trump Winery,
on labor issues.
But news reports that followed the winery’s December requests
for the visas prompted criticism over the request. Trump
campaigned on promises to create new jobs for American workers
and used harsh rhetoric to talk about immigrants, including his
promise to build a border wall to keep out people from Mexico
and Central America who make up much of the migrant workforce in
Whitely said she assumed her company would be flooded with
people applying for the jobs because of the media coverage of
the winery’s initial request.
"Guess how many applicants we had? ... 13," she said. "And
they were all from places like the Philippines, Indonesia,
Kenya, Nigeria. We did not have one American worker apply on
(the first job order)."
Several people have sent e-mails to show they are outraged
that Trump winery is hiring foreigners, Whitley said.
"I qualify every one of those responses and I say, ‘Are you
interested in the job? If you are, please get in touch with us
immediately,"’ Whitley said.
Trump Winery didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for
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