Last week, Politico reported that some U.S. businesses "are starting to explore the possibility of recruiting domestic labor." Emphasis mine.
The same day, the Bangor Daily News ran this headline:
Amid foreign worker shortage, Bar Harbor businesses turn to local labor
Guest worker programs are supposed to be emergency stop gaps for a dearth of domestic workers, not the other way around.
I have no doubt that some businesses have trouble finding local workers. What these news reports suggest, however, is that they haven't been trying very hard. Not for a while. Their domestic recruitment pipeline is rusted and corroded from years of neglect. In other words, some of these businesses have either lacked the necessary skills to attract domestic workers or they've been too lazy to try.
The irony was not lost on readers:
"After crying for years about how their businesses will fail if they don't get more foreign workers, now they're saying they may just be forced to go out and actually recruit U.S. workers. They've used the easy availability of foreign workers to hold down wages; but now, gosh darn it, they may just have to hire American workers....
"....Perhaps in Bar Harbor, the other summer tourist destinations and in Portland, the 'locals' are incapable of physical labor; but if they look around at the rest of Maine they'll see the 'locals' handling these, and many other physically demanding jobs, very well. His, and other's, condescending attitude rankles me. They just don't think Americans can handle such jobs, and up to this point they've been able to import foreign workers to help hold down wages....
"....If nothing else, this article confirms what many of us have suspected for years, that some of the seasonal employers in Maine have not done as much as they could to recruit American workers."
"'Until then, Bar Harbor area employers are enticing workers in other ways. Higher wages are part of the solution. Some businesses are also weighing new schedules that might appeal to older workers in the region, interested in working only a day or two each week.'
"Better wages, consistent shifts.
"Oh horrors! Hiring locals! Raising wages!
"What's becoming of Bar Harbor?"
"Why not hold the job fairs in Detroit, Chicago or LA where youth unemployment is extremely high?"
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 3:20pm EDT