"IN THEM OLD ONION FIELDS BACK HOME"

(05/09/2005)

Onion Fields And Virtual Prosperity

By Bob Weaver

"It may sound a little bit funny, But you didn't make very much money, In them old, onion fields back home"

WVs unemployment numbers, used to paint a picture of prosperity, remain good. In some counties there is virtually no unemployment.

Even the whole USA is looking better.

Of course, when the numbers get spun, there is minimal awareness that the unemployment stats are based on those who have recently quit collecting the unemployment benefits.

When there are few jobs to be had, and all of them are filled, the statistics are super-glorious.

Using the media-driven model, we will soon have two chickens in every pot.

Federal officials say unemployment numbers continue to improve with 274,000 new jobs added to the economy in April, likely compensating for the loss of workers at the green onion farms near Pittsburgh.

There was little job growth in manufacturing, since most American goods are imported through the global economic policy. Few manufactured goods in America.

Most job growth is in service industries, like fast foods, restaurants and their suppliers, accustomed to dumbed-down wages and few benefits.

Now, the onion fields are representative of cheap labor.

The Food and Drug Administration recently found deplorable housing conditions for workers at Mexican-operated green onion farms, near Pittsburgh, PA, investigated in a 2003 hepatitis outbreak at a Chi-Chi's restaurant.

That outbreak sent 650 people to the hospital with hepatitis, killing four. At least 23 West Virginians were affected.

The workers were living in windowless metal shacks with no showers. A ditch containing human and other waste ran downhill from the huts to onion fields and a packaging house.

The FDA has stopped short of saying the outbreak was absolutely linked to those problems, but e-coli and other contaminants were found in the onions.

Since then, the Kentucky-based Chi-Chi's chain and their contract suppliers have vanished and more than 340 legal claims have been settled for about $21 million dollars.


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