The Dynamics of Labor in North Carolina's Christmas Tree Industry

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dc.contributor.advisor Frederick Cubbage, Committee Chair en_US Hamilton, James Victor Jr. en_US 2010-04-02T19:22:30Z 2010-04-02T19:22:30Z 2004-07-19 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-07072004-144313 en_US
dc.description.abstract Hispanic workers now make up a majority of the labor force in North Carolina's Christmas tree industry. Data were collected from Christmas tree growers, Hispanic workers, and government agency personnel in 2001 and 2002 to analyze the factors that (1) contribute to the dynamics of labor issues and (2) influence decision-making among growers and workers in the industry. While advocacy groups, researchers, and the popular media commonly address labor exploitation and public health issues among migrant workers, objective appraisals of labor management strategies within specific industries are rarely undertaken. In this study, labor issues within North Carolina's Christmas tree industry are analyzed. The existing theoretical body of social exchange research also is challenged by emphasizing the importance of non-economic factors, such as social and psychological values, in social exchange among industry participants. A qualitative approach was used to develop a more complete understanding of labor dynamics in the industry, incorporating multiple methods including a mail survey, personal interviews with industry participants and agency personnel, and participant observation. Survey and interview results among growers yielded an historical context to the development of the industry's labor force. This, in turn, revealed a body of concerns under which Christmas tree growers currently manage their labor force such as hiring and training, legal status and language barriers, as well as regulatory monitoring and advocacy scrutiny of their operations. Interviews with Hispanic workers illustrate how social networks influence their decision-making in migration and job selection and reveal concerns about both legal status and communication with their employers. Respect, rapport, and positive interaction among industry participants in a system of mutual benefit are also revealed. This information can be used to challenge the traditional notions of a confrontational and exploitative dynamic between migrant workers and employers that is commonly portrayed in the popular media at least within this industry sector. Recommendations are provided that will make it possible for educators, advocates, and policy makers to develop more effective strategies for meeting the labor needs and concerns of employers and workers in the Christmas tree industry and other agricultural and forestry industries. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject migration theory en_US
dc.subject migrant farmworkers en_US
dc.subject Christmas tree labor en_US
dc.subject social exchange theory en_US
dc.subject H-2A guestworkers en_US
dc.subject language barrier en_US
dc.title The Dynamics of Labor in North Carolina's Christmas Tree Industry en_US PhD en_US dissertation en_US Forestry en_US

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