• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Historic note
 Title Page
 Abstract
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 The survey
 Characteristics of responding...
 Labor market results
 Possible employer actions to deal...
 Concluding remarks
 Appendix A: The questionnaire














Group Title: Economic information report ;
Title: Farm labor in the ornamental industries of Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026509/00001
 Material Information
Title: Farm labor in the ornamental industries of Florida
Series Title: Economic information report ;
Physical Description: vi, 24 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Polopolus, Leo
Moon, Sharon
Chunkasut, Noy
Publisher: Food & Resource Economics Dept., Agricultural Experiment Stations, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Food & Resource Economics Dept., Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, (Fla.)
Publication Date: 1990
Copyright Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Agricultural laborers -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Ornamental plant industry -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Leo C. Polopolus, Sharon Moon, Noy Chunkasut.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "December 1990."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026509
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - AHL3286
alephbibnum - 001589314
oclc - 23111416

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Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Note
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Abstract
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The survey
        Page 3
    Characteristics of responding employers
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Labor market results
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Possible employer actions to deal with labor supply problems
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Concluding remarks
        Page 23
    Appendix A: The questionnaire
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE



The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida






Leo C. Polopolus Economic Information
<2 3 Sharon Moon Report 283
Noy Chunkasut





Farm Labor in the Ornamental
Industries of Florida



CPn rd Science
Library
J AN 23 199(
: miversity of Florida













Food & Resource Economics Department
Agricultural Experiment Stations and
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences December 1990
University of Florida, Gainesville 32611














FARM LABOR IN THE ORNAMENTAL INDUSTRIES
OF FLORIDA

















Leo C. Polopolus, Sharon Moon, and Noy Chunkasut















Leo C. Polopolus is Professor, Sharon Moon is Assistant in, and Noy Chunkasut is
Visiting Assistant in, all in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.

ii










ABSTRACT

This report presents that portion of a broader study of horticultural industries in Florida
dealing with ornamental industries. The focus of the inquiry is upon wage rates paid to seasonal
workers, prospective labor supplies, likely impact of the Immigration Reform and Control Act upon
the supply of seasonal workers, possible employer actions to deal with inadequate labor supplies,
and the ethnic and other demographic characteristics of seasonal workers in Florida's ornamental
industries.

The survey design involved questionnaires mailed to approximately 1,400 Florida farmers
during the late Spring and Summer of 1988. The overall response was 474 questionnaires or rate
of 34%. Of the total number of respondents, 158 were from ornamental growers or 33% of the
total of 474. More than one-half of the respondents completed the questionnaire. Most
respondents were located in Central and South Florida.

In contrast with employment practices of fruit and vegetable producers, ornamental
growers do not heavily utilize labor contractors or other middlemen for fulfilling seasonal labor
requirements. Also, year around employment is much more common in the ornamentals
industries, when compared with fruit and/or vegetable industries. In this survey, roughly one-half
of the ornamentals respondents did not report use of seasonal workers.

Variation in ethnic composition of the seasonal workforce in ornamentals occurs
depending upon commodity emphasis and region of the state. Over 80% of the seasonal
workers in ferns were Mexican compared with a 50% Mexican workers share in foliage. Black
(American and Haitian) accounted for 29% of seasonal workers in foliage, but only 8% in ferns.

Compared with other horticultural industries, a relatively high incidence of women are
employed in the Florida foliage industry. For the ornamentals industry as a whole, 32% of
seasonal workers were women in the 1987-88 season.

Two major types of hand skills were singled out for wage rate estimation: planting/potting
and hand harvesting. In contrast with fruit and vegetable industries, there is much less of a wage
rate differential between these two types of hand skills in ornamentals.

Full time nonseasonal employees received higher hourly rates when compared with part
time nonseasonal workers. For example, full time nonseasonal workers in foliage operations
received $4.92 per hour compared with $3.99 per hour for part time nonseasonal employees.

Seasonal tractor drivers averaged $5.44 per hour in the ornamentals industry for the
1986/87 season. Workers employed with other machine skills received slightly higher average
hourly rate.

Labor supplies were deemed adequate by 75% of foliage growers in the 1986-87 and
1987-88 seasons. However, 33% expected labor supplies to be inadequate for the 1988-89
season. For fern growers, the outlook for labor supplies was more pessimistic.



iii










In contrast with fruit and vegetable growers, ornamental growers perceived much less
impact on labor supplies because of the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act
(IRCA).

Approximately 70% of ornamentals respondents believed that there were at least some
"illegal" aliens employed in the industry at the time of the survey. Of the respondents indicating
that there were undocumented workers in the industry, one-third believed that "illegals"
represented over 60% of the seasonal labor workforce.

Of the ornamentals employers who expect to have future labor supply problems, the study
attempted to determine what actions employers would take to deal with the problem. The
possible actions evaluated included the following: increase in wage rates, increase in labor
recruitment efforts, housing for workers and their families, start or increase fringe benefits, shift
to registered labor contractor, hire H-2A temporary foreign workers, join a cooperative that
supplies harvest workers, adopt labor saving technology, change production to a crop requiring
less labor, and/or decrease production or quit farming altogether.


KEYWORDS

Farm Labor, ornamentals, foliage, fern,
wage rates, seasonal workers, Florida

























iv










PREFACE

Passage of the United States Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986
changed many of the fundamentals of the domestic farm labor market. Unfortunately,
there has been an insufficient knowledge base on farm labor markets in Florida and
elsewhere to begin to analyze and/or predict future directions in farm labor supplies,
wage rates, and other relevant aspects of the farm labor market for seasonal and
perishable crops.

This study represents an attempt to fill some of the gaps in our current
understanding of Florida farm labor markets, particularly regarding the ornamental
industries. Special attention will be placed upon labor practices in the foliage and fern
sectors of the industry. Survey results are reported for such topics as wage rates for
seasonal workers, some sociodemographic characteristics of workers, prospective labor
supplies, the likely impact of IRCA, and possible actions to be taken by employers faced
with labor shortages.

Statements and interpretations in this report are the responsibility of the authors
and are not meant to reflect the official position or policy of the Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences of the University of Florida or any other agency or group, public or
private. It is hoped, however, that this report will shed some new knowledge on current
farm labor markets in Florida, the sociodemographics of farm workers, and the outlook
regarding future farm labor supplies.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors are indebted to many ornamental growers in Florida, particularly
foliage and fern growers who responded to our call for farm labor information. Those
who completed the lengthy questionnaire deserve special recognition.

Several industry organizations and individuals were highly supportive of this study
effort, particularly the following:

Walter Kates, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
Scotty Butler, Florida Farm Bureau Federation

A special note of thanks is extended to Robert L. Freie, Ray Crickenberger, and
Aubrey Bordelon of the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service for their assistance with this
special project. Also, appreciation is given to Dr. Larry Libby, Chairman of the Food and
Resource Economics Department, IFAS, for his overall administrative support of the
project, as well as Alan Hodges and John J. Haydu for their constructive review of this
manuscript.

V










CONTENTS


ABSTRACT ...................................... .......... iii

KEYW O RDS ........... ..... ................................... iv

PREFA C E ...................................................... v

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................... ......... .... ............ v

INTRO DUCTIO N ................................................. 1

TH E SURVEY ................................................... 3

CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDING EMPLOYERS ..................... 4
Ethnic Com position ............................................ 8
Sex of Seasonal W workers ........................................ 8
Age and Age Distribution of Workers ............................... 9
Average Workdays in Peak Week ................................. 10

LABOR MARKET RESULTS ........................................ 12
W age R ates ................................................. 12
Labor Supplies ............................................. . 16
Im pact of IRCA ............................................... 17
Illegal Im m grants ............................................. 18

POSSIBLE EMPLOYER ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH LABOR SUPPLY PROBLEMS 19
Increase W age Rate ........................................... 20
Increase Labor Recruitment Efforts ................................ 20
Provide Housing ............................................. 20
Increase Benefits ............................................. 20
Shift to Registered Labor Contractors ............................. 21
Hire H-2A W workers ............................................ 21
Join a Cooperative That Supplies Field Workers ...................... 22
Increase Use of Labor Saving Technology ............... ........... 22
Change To Crop Requiring Less Labor ....................... ......... 22
Decrease Production Or Quit Farming ............................. 22
CONCLUDING REMARKS ........................................... 23
APPENDIX A ................................................. 24





vi











FARM LABOR IN THE ORNAMENTAL INDUSTRIES
OF FLORIDA


INTRODUCTION

Given the growth in the size and economic importance of Florida's ornamental industries,
there has been a concomitant increase in the demand for labor. In contrast to the highly
seasonal labor demands for many of Florida's crops, the labor demand for Florida's ornamental
industries is less seasonal in nature.

There is a lack of regularly published data on the aggregate number of hired workers in
Florida's ornamental industries. Part of this problem is due to rapid growth in industry sales, but
part of the problem involves the lack of a consistent definition of the industry. A comprehensive
definition of ornamentals would include the following components:

Foliage
Bedding Plants
Potted Flowering Plants
Cut Flowers
Cut Cultivated Greens
Woody Ornamentals
Tropical Woody Ornamentals
Citrus Nurseries
Sod

Estimates of the volume of Florida farm level cash receipts range from $521 million for
foliage and floriculture in 1987 to $933 million for greenhouse and nursery the same year. This
$412 million difference in these two estimates reflects different sets of commodities. The lower
value of $521 million in cash marketing excludes woody ornamentals, tropical woody
ornamentals, citrus nurseries, and sod. The estimate of cash receipts for Florida foliage,
floriculture and cut greens decreased from $521 million in 1987 to $500.6 million in 1989. Cash
receipts in 1989 were distributed as shown in Table 1.













1












Table 1. Value of Farm Sales of Selected Ornamental Crops, Florida, 1989


Cash Receipts, 1989
Items
Million $ % of Total

Foliage 269.5 53.8
Bedding Plants 55.2 11.0
Potted Flowering Plants 58.8 11.8
Cut Flowers 31.4 6.3
Cut Cultivated Greens 85.7 17.1

Total 500.6 100.0

Source: Florida Agricultural Statistics Services, Orlando.


The more comprehensive "greenhouse and nursery" industry of Florida has grown
dramatically during the decade of the 1980s or from $339 million in cash farm receipts in 1980
to $933 million in 1987, a 175% increase. Greenhouse and nursery crops represented 8.9% of
Florida's total agricultural cash receipts in 1980, but 16.3% in 1988 (Table 2).



Table 2. Cash Farm Receipts from Florida's Greenhouse and Nursery Industry, 1980-1987.


Cash Farm Receipts
Year
Year Total % all Florida Farm Receipts
(million $) (%)

1980 339 8.9
1982 550 12.8
1984 751 15.4
1987 933 17.8
1988 948 16.3

Source: USDA/ERS, Washington, D.C.

Total employment data for the Florida ornamentals industry is not accurately known by
any definition of the industry. The Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security,
however, does publish bi-weekly data on "seasonal" hired workers for the "flower/nursery"
industry. Peak employment for this category of workers was 3,675 for the two week period
ending February 15,1988. This estimate appears to seriously underestimate the total hired
workforce for the Florida ornamental industry.












THE SURVEY



Approximately 1,400 Florida farmers, all believed to be horticultural growers, were mailed
questionnaires in the Late Spring and Summer of 1988 regarding the employment of farm
workers. The questionnaire focused upon wage rates paid, demographics of workers employed,
and employer views of farm labor market problems. The sample of producers drawn was
believed to be representative, although not completely random. Nonrespondents to the first
mailing were sent a second request for returning the questionnaire. A copy of the questionnaire
is enclosed as Appendix A.

A total of 474 questionnaires were returned for an overall response rate of 34%. Of the
total number of respondents, 158 were from ornamental growers or 33% of the total of 474 (Table
3). Unfortunately, 37% of the ornamental respondents did not complete the questionnaire. Many
of the "incomplete" responses were from growers who did not employ farm workers directly, were
not presently involved with fruit, vegetable, or ornamental industries, did not employ seasonal
workers, or were no longer actively involved with farming operations.


Table 3. Number of Respondents by Type of Farm and Completeness of Response to
Questionnaire


Status of Returned Questionnaire
Type of Farm Completed Incomplete Total
-----Number ----
Fruit & Nut 70 82 152
Vegetable & Melon 42 6 48
Ornamental 100 58 158
Mixed 32 0 32
Unknown 0 84 84
Total 244 230 474

Mixed farms are defined to include farms that have fruits and vegetables, fruits and
ornamentals, vegetables and ornamentals or all three commodity types.

The substantive results of this report are drawn from the 100 completed questionnaires
from ornamental growers, as well as from mixed growers producing foliage and ferns. The
respondents of these questionnaires are believed to fairly represent growers of ornamentals,
particularly foliage and ferns. There was no attempt to survey labor contractors involved in the
ornamentals industries; labor contracting is believed to be of minor importance in these industries.


3












CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDING EMPLOYERS

Including ornamentals as well as mixed horticultural farms, there were 107 different
respondents that produced ornamentals during the 1986/87 and/or 1987/88 seasons. Two thirds
of these respondents produced foliage, while 28% produced woody ornamentals. Ferns and cut
greens were produced by 16% of the respondents (Table 4).

Table 4. Number of Respondents Producing Ornamental Crops


Commodity Number of
Group Respondents
Foliage 71
Woody Ornamentals 30
Cut Greens/Ferns 17
Pot Flowers 13
Bedding Plants 8
Cut Flowers 5
At Least One Ornamental Crop 107



Of the 107 respondents producing ornamental crops, 80 produced only one commodity
group, while another 20 produced two commodity groups. Only 7 respondents produced 3 or
more ornamental commodity groups, such as foliage, woody ornamentals, and cut flowers within
the same firm (Table 5).



Table 5. Number of Different Ornamental Commodity Groups
Produced By Respondents


Number of Different Ornamental Respondents
Commodity Groups Produced% of Total
Number % of Total

One 80 74
Two 20 19
Three 5 5
Four 1 1
Five 1 1

Total 107 100


4











For the ornamentals respondents overall, most producers were located in the Central and
South regions. Similarly, foliage producers were concentrated in Central and South Florida.
There were respondents from North Florida for foliage, ferns, and ornamentals. However, there
were no producers of ferns reporting from South Florida (Table 6).

The average size of the ornamentals respondent was quite large in term of farm sales, yet
considerably smaller than the average size of fruit and vegetable firms responding to this survey.
Of the 95 respondents who provided sales data, the estimated total value of ornamentals
marketed in the 1987-88 season was $70 million. This translates to average sales of $735
thousand per farm.


Table 6. Distribution of Respondents By Regions Where Production Occurred,
Ornamental Producers


Commodity _____
/ North Fla. Central Fla. South Fla. Total Regions Total
Industry Region Region Region Single
Only Only Only Region
Foliage 3 33 34 70 1 71
Ferns 2 14 0 16 1 17
Ornamentals 6 52 40 98 2 100
Mixed Horticulture 3 22 4 29 3 32


In contrast with employment practices of fruit and vegetable producers, ornamentals
producers did not heavily utilize labor contractors or other middlemen for fulfilling seasonal labor
requirements. For foliage respondents, 88% hired seasonal workers directly, while for fern
growers, 100% of seasonal workers were hired directly by producers (Table 7).
















5













Table 7. Percentage of Ornamental Respondents Hiring Seasonal Workers Directly and
Indirectly


Percentage
Commodity Hired Hired Hired Total
/ Seasonal Through Both Percent
Industry Workers Contractor, Directly
Directly Coop, etc &
Only Only Indirectly

Foliage 88 6 6 100
Ferns 100 0 0 100
Ornamentals 94 4 2 100
Mixed Horticulture 66 13 22 100



Year around employment is much more common in the ornamentals industries, when
compared with fruit and/or vegetable industries. In this survey, roughly one-half of the
ornamentals respondents did not report employment of seasonal workers. Total employment of
seasonal workers in the peak week was estimated to be 720, while the number of permanent
employees hired by ornamentals respondents in the 1987-88 season was 2,200. Employment
per average firm reporting was 23 permanent workers and 16 seasonal workers (Table 8).

Table 8. Number of Seasonal and Permanent Workers Hired,
Ornamentals Industries, 1987-88 Season.


Item 1987-88 Season


Seasonal Workers In Peak Week
Number Workers 720
Number Respondents 46
Average Per Firm 16



Permanent Workers
Number Workers 2,220
Number Respondents 97
Average Per Firm 23





6










The total number of man hours worked by seasonal employees in the peak week in the
ornamentals industries increased from 47,393 in 1986/87 to 54,873 in 1987/88, a 16% increase.
For foliage respondents (which includes some mixed horticultural farms), total man hours in the
peak week increased from 34,566 in 1986/87 to 41,460 in 1987/88, a 20% increase. Total man
hours in ferns also increased modestly from 15,945 in 1986/87 to 16,770 in 1987/88, or 5%
increase (Table 9).

Seasonal man hour requirements per average respondent are provided in Table 9. The
average fern growers requires a larger number of seasonal man hours in the peak week, when
compared with foliage growers or the overall ornamentals growers (Table 9).

Table 9. Man Hours of Seasonal Workers In Peak Week, Ornamentals Respondents


Commodity 1986-87 1987-88

Industry Man Average Per Man Average Per
Hours Firm Hours Firm
Foliage 34,566 751 41,460 846
Ferns 15,945 1,063 16,770 1,118
Ornamentals 47,393 707 54,873 784





























7













CHARACTERISTICS OF FARM WORKERS



Ethnic Composition

Variation in ethnic composition of the seasonal workforce in ornamentals depends upon
commodity emphasis and region of the state. Compared with seasonal workers in vegetable and
fruit crops, there is a relatively larger proportion of non-Hispanic Caucasian workers in the
ornamentals industries. For example, 16% of the seasonal workforce in ornamentals was
Caucasian, compared with 6% Caucasian in fruits and nuts and 5% in vegetables and melons.

Over 80% of the seasonal workers in ferns were Mexican compared with a 50% Mexican
worker share in foliage. Thus, Blacks (American and Haitian) accounted for 29% of seasonal
workers in foliage but only 8% in ferns (Table 10).

Sex of Seasonal Workers

Compared with other horticultural industries, relatively high incidence of women were
employed in the Florida foliage industry. In the 1987-88 season, respondents reported that 34%
of seasonal foliage workers were women, with 66% of the workers being men (Table 11). In
contrast, only 19% of fern industry workers were women. For the ornamentals industries as a
whole, 32% of seasonal workers were women in the 1987-88 season (Table 11).


Table 10. Ethnic Distribution of Seasonal Farm Workers in Ornamentals


Ethnic Foliage Ferns Ornamentals
Category
a----Percentage----

Domestic Caucasians 12.59 9.12 16.12
Mexican 49.51 83.03 56.77
Other Hispanic 7.40 0.00 13.17
American Black 20.45 7.85 8.24
Haitian Black 8.84 0.00 5.01
Other Foreign Black 0.10 0.00 0.40
Other Workers 1.12 0.00 0.28
Total Percent 100.00 100.00 100.00





8










Table 11. Distribution of Seasonal Ornamentals Workers By Sex, 1987-88 Season


Commodity Percent Percent
/ Female Male
Industry

Foliage 34 66
Ferns 19 81
Ornamentals 32 68


Age and Age Distribution of Workers

Seasonal workers in the ornamentals industries tended to be quite young. The average
age for the ornamentals industries was 23.2 years of age. For seasonal fern workers, the average
age dropped to 20.0 years. These average ages were considerably below the average age of
31.8 for all seasonal horticultural workers (Table 12).

In terms of age distribution, over 80% of all ornamentals workers were under 36 years of
age. For the fern industry, over 90% of seasonal workers were under 36 years of age, Very few
seasonal workers in the ornamentals industries were 65 years of age or older (Table 13).

Table 12. Average Age of Seasonal
Ornamentals Workers, 1987-88 Seasons

Commodity Average
/ Age
Industry (Years)

Foliage 23.1
Ferns 20.0
Ornamentals 23.2
All Horticultural Industries 31.8















9












Table 13. Age Distribution of Seasonal Ornamentals Workers, 1987-88 Season

Commodity Percent
/ Total
Industry < 21 21 -35 36 64 65 or >
years

Foliage 11.24 61.17 25.96 1.63 100.00
Ferns 12.54 80.50 6.85 0.11 100.00
Ornamentals 11.66 72.24 15.54 0.55 100.00
All Horticultural Industries 14.97 56.92 25.97 2.14 100.00




Average Workdays in Peak Week

The peak week normally represents the peak of farm sales or harvest activity for the entire
season. In ornamentals, there is much less seasonality to sales and employment, as compared
with fruit and vegetable industries. Nevertheless, ornamentals employers reported over 5.58 work
days in the peak week, with 6.21 work days reported by fern growers in the peak week (Table
14).

Seasonal workers in Florida ornamentals industries were employed 45 hours per week
in the peak week of the two seasons surveyed. For fern workers, the average work week at the
peak of the season increased to 53 hours for both seasons (Table 15).

Table 14. Average Number of Days Worked in Peak Week, Ornamentals
Industries, 1987-88 Season


Commodity Average
/ Number of Days
Industry Worked

Foliage 5.54
Ferns 6.21
Ornamentals 5.58
All Horticultural Industries 5.85











10











Table 15. Average Hours Worked Per Ornamentals Worker in Peak
Week, 1986/87 and 1987/88 Seasons


Commodity 1986/87 1987/88
/ Average Hours Average Hours
Industry Worked Worked

Foliage 44.6 44.8
Ferns 52.9 53.2
Ornamentals 45.4 45.5
All Horticultural Industries 47.4 47.5









































11











LABOR MARKET RESULTS



Wage Rates

One important aspect of this survey dealt with the estimation of hourly wage rates paid
by employers to seasonal field workers and non-seasonal employees in Florida's ornamentals
industries. A limited amount of piece rate information was also estimated.

Selected Hand Skills

Two major types of hand skills were singled out for wage rate estimation: planting/potting
and hand harvesting. In contrast with fruit and vegetable industries, there is much less of a wage
rate differential between these types of hand skills in ornamentals. For example, foliage and fern
workers receive slightly less per hour for planting and/or potting when compared with hand
harvesting. For seasonal ornamental workers as a whole, the wage rates are almost identical for
the two seasons surveyed (Table 16).

For each type of hand skill, there were modest wage rate increases in the 1986/87 and
1987/88 seasons. For foliage workers, wage rates for planting/potting activities increased from
an average of $4.13 per hour in 1986/87 to $4.29 per hour in 1987/88. For fern workers involved
with harvest operations, average wage rates increased from $5.32 per hour in 1986/87 to $5,50
per hour in 1987/88 (Table 16).


Table 16. Average Hourly Wage Rates for Selected Hand Skills, Ornamentals Industries,
Seasonal Workers, 1986/87 and 1987/88 Seasons


Commodity 1986/87 1987/88
/ Average Hourly Wage Average Hourly Wage
Industry
Pianing,'Pontng Hand Harvest Planting/Potting Hand Harvest

Foliage 4.13 4.54 4.29 4.59
Fern 4.67 5.32 4.83 5.50
Ornamentals 4,45 4.43 4.52 4.55
All Horticultural Industries 3.95 5.28 4.00 5.59


Selected Piece Rates

A limited amount of piece rate data was obtained from the survey. In the fern industry,
the average piece rate for cutting fern was estimated to be 18 cents per bunch for seasonal
workers and 19 cents per bunch for full time workers in the 1986/87 industry. For the 1987/88

12










season, both seasonal and year around workers received 19 cents per bunch for cutting ferns
(Table 17).


Table 17. Average Piece Rates for Cutting Ferns, 1986/87 and 1987/88 Industries.


Type of Type of Unit of Piece Rate (cents)
Worker Activity Measure 9887 1987/88

Seasonal Cutting Ferns Cents/Bunch 18 19
Permanent Cutting Ferns Cents/Bunch 19 19


Tractor Driving and Other Machine Skills

A limited amount of data was obtained from respondents in ornamentals industries
regarding wage rates paid to both seasonal and permanent tractor drivers, as well as workers
performing other machine skills.

For the 1986/87 season, seasonal tractor drivers averaged $5.44 per hour in the overall
ornamentals industry, but a higher average of $5.98 per hour in the fern industry. Workers
employed with other machine skills received slightly higher average hourly rates (when compared
with tractor drivers). In general seasonal tractor drivers and seasonal workers with other machine
skills earned more per hour than their counterparts in other horticultural industries (Table 18).


Table 18. Average Hourly Wage Rates for Tractor Drivers and Other Machine Skills,
Ornamental Industries, Seasonal Workers, 1986/87 Season.


Commodity 1986/87
/ Average Hourty Wage Rate
Industry Tractor Driver Other Machine Skills

----$/Hr----- --$/Hr----
Foliage 5.45 5.80
Ferns 5.98 6.01
Ornamentals 5.44 5.64
All Horticultural Industries 4.74 4.93


Hourly wage rates for permanent or full time tractor drivers in the ornamental industry were
quite similar with wage rate levels received for seasonal tractor drivers. Also, wage rates for both

13











permanent tractor drivers and permanent workers with other machine skills showed modest or
no increase over the two seasons evaluated (Table 19).


Table 19. Average Hourly Wage Rates for Tractor Drivers and Other Machine Skills,
Ornamentals Industries, Full Time Workers, 1986/87 and 1987/88 Seasons.


Commodity 1986/87 1987/88

Industry Tractor Other Machine Tractor Other Machine
Driver Skills Driver Skills
----/Hr---

Foliage 5.40 5.75 5.43 6.00
Ferns 6.25 N/A 6.25 N/A
Ornamentals 5.43 5.75 5.46 6.00
All Horticultural Industries 5.43 5.73 5.47 5.96

N/A: Not Applicable


Nonseasonal Employees

As one would expect, full time nonseasonal employees received higher hourly rates when
compared with part time nonseasonal workers. The difference in average hourly rates was the
greatest for fern workers, where full time nonseasonal employees received $5.16 per hour
compared with $4.03 per hour for part time nonseasonal workers in the 1987/88 season. In the
foliage industry, full time nonseasonal workers received $4.92 per hour compared with $3.99 per
hour for part time nonseasonal employees, or difference of 93 cents per hour (Table 20).



















14











Table 20. Average Hourly Wage Rates, Nonseasonal Employees, Ornamentals Industries,
1987/88 Season


Commodity Average Hourly Wage Rate
/ Full Time Part Time
Industry Nonseasonal Nonseasonal
Employees Employees
---/Hr---

Foliage 4.92 3.99
Fern 5.16 4.03
Ornamentals 4.82 4.47
All Horticultural Industries 4.72 4.01


Expected Wage Rates

During the Spring and Summer of 1988, respondents were asked to evaluate the question
of likely wage rate changes for seasonal workers for the following 1988-89 season. Approximately
60% of the ornamental respondents did not expect any change, while 40% felt that hourly wage
rates would change between the 1987/88 and 1988/89 seasons. For foliage respondents, the
percentage expecting a year to year change in wage rates was 45%, while for fern growers only
35% expected a change in hourly rates (Table 21).

Of those ornamentals respondents expecting wage rates to change, including foliage and
fern growers, all 100% felt that wage rates would increase in the subsequent season. Thus, none
expected wage rates to decrease (Table 21).



Table 21. Expected Wage Rates for Seasonal Workers, Ornamentals


Commodity Employers Expecting Change IF Yes,
Commodity In Wage Rate Employer Expecting Wage
Rate To
Industry .. .
Yes No Increase Decrease

Foliage 45.3 54.7 100.0 0.0
Ferns 35.3 64.7 100.0 0.0
Ornamentals 41.3 58.7 100.0 0.0
All Horticultural Industries 40.6 59.4 95.3 4.7




15











Labor Supplies

For foliage respondents, the supply of seasonal workers was deemed adequate by 75%
in the two seasons, 1986/87 and 1987/88. However, for the 1988-89 season 20 of the 60 foliage
respondents, or 33%, expected labor supplies to be inadequate. Four foliage respondents, or
less than 7%, expected seasonal labor supplies to be "abundant" throughout the three year period
evaluated (Table 22).

For fern growers, the outlook was more pessimistic regarding seasonal labor supplies.
While 65% of fern respondents thought that labor supplies were adequate for the 1986-87 and
1987-88 seasons, 7 of the 17 respondents or 41% felt that labor supplies would be inadequate
for the 1988/89 seasons (Table 22).



Table 22. Supply of Seasonal Workers in Peak Week, Ornamentals, 1986/87 1988/89
Seasons


Supply of
Seasonal Foliage Ferns Ornamentals
Workers
-----Number of Respondents------

1986-87

Not Enough 11 4 15
Adequate 46 11 65
Abundant 4 2 8

198788

Not Enough 11 4 15
Adequate 46 11 66
Abundant 4 2 7

1988-89

Not Enough 20 7 23
Adequate 36 8 55
Abundant 4 2 6











16










Impact of IRCA

In contrast with fruit and vegetable respondents, ornamentals growers perceive much less
impact on labor supplies because of the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act
(IRCA). For all ornamentals respondents, 42 of 88 or 48% expected "No" effect from IRCA. Of
the 46 respondents who expected IRCA to have an effect in labor supplies, 42 ornamentals
growers or 91% expected IRCA to decreased labor supplies (Table 23).

Foliage growers were equally divided over the expected effect of IRCA. One half of the
respondents expecting "No" effect, while the other one-half expected IRCA to have an effect. Of
those foliage respondents indicated some effect, 29 of 32 expected IRCA to decrease labor
supplies (Table 23).

Table 23. Expected Effect of New Immigration Law on Supply of Seasonal Workers,
Ornamentals


if Yes,
Commodity Employers Who Think There
& No Yes Will be
Industry Effect Effect Inc Decr
Increase Decrease
in Supply In Supply
Foliage 32 32 3 29
Ferns 5 12 1 11
Ornamentals 42 46 4 42
All Horticulture Industries 70 152 7 144


Fern growers were much more concerned about the likely impact of IRCA. Twelve of 17
respondents or 71% expected IRCA to affect labor supplies. Of those expecting IRCA to affect
labor supplies, all but one expected IRCA to decrease labor supplies (Table 23).
















17










Illegal Immigrants

At the time this survey was conducted, qualified undocumented workers still had an
opportunity to apply to become temporary resident aliens of the United States under the Special
Agricultural Worker (SAWs) program of IRCA. Employers were asked the question: 'What
percentage of seasonal field workers employed do you think are illegal immigrants?"

For the ornamentals industry respondents, approximately 70% believed that there were
at least some illegal aliens employed in the industry. Conversely, 30% of the respondents thought
that "no" undocumented worker were employed in the industry (Table 24).

Of the ornamentals respondents indicating thatthese were "some" illegal, roughly one-third
believed that illegal represented over 60% of the seasonal labor workforce. This suggests that
the use of illegal aliens by the industry was a fairly pervasive practice.

Table 24. Percent Distribution of Respondents by Level of Illegal Immigrants, Ornamentals


Believe Believe Percent Distribution of Respondents
Tpe There There Who Think There Are Illegal Immigrants
is None Are
Farm (%) Some 1-20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% 81-100%
(%)
Ornamentals 29.2 70.8 15.2 28.2 23.9 17.3 15.2
All Horticultural Industries 26.4 73,6 21.9 40.7 18.8 10,2 8.6
























18











POSSIBLE EMPLOYER ACTIONS TO DEAL WITH LABOR SUPPLY PROBLEMS

Only one-third of ornamentals respondents expect to have problems securing an adequate
supply of seasonal farm labor in the future. The responses from foliage growers were quite
similar to the overall ornamentals industry. However, 50% of fern growers expect to have
problems with future supplies of seasonal labor (Table 25). Overall, employers of seasonal labor
in the ornamentals industry expect fewer problems with future labor supplies when compared with
Florida's horticultural industries as a whole. This result occurs in part because year around
employment is relatively more important in the ornamentals industry; year around workers are
easier to attract into employment when compared with seasonal workers.


Table 25. Employers Expecting Future Problems In Securing Adequate Supply of Seasonal
Farm Labor, Ornamentals


% %
Commodity Total Expecting Expecting
R/ No Problem With Problem With
Industry Future Labor Future Labor
Supply Supply
Foliage 60 62 38
Ferns 16 50 50
Ornamentals 84 68 32
All Horticultural Industries 215 48 52























19











Of those employers who expect to have future labor supply problems, the study attempted
to determine what actions employers would take to deal with the problem, including the following
actions:

Increase Wage Rates
Increase Labor Recruitment Efforts
Provide Housing for Workers and Family
Start or Increase Benefits to Workers
Shift to Registered Labor Contractor
Hire H-2A Temporary Foreign Agricultural Workers
Join A Cooperative that Supplies Harvest Season Workers
Decrease the Need for Field Labor by Increasing Labor-
Saving Devices
Change Production to a Crop Requiring Less Labor
Decrease Production or Quit Farming


Increase Wage Rate

Sixty percent of the ornamentals respondents agreed with the proposition that increasing
wage rates would solve the problem of future labor supplies. The response from foliage growers
was quite similar, while fern growers were less sympathetic toward the notion of increased wage
rates for solving labor supply problems (Table 26).

Increase Labor Recruitment Efforts

Increased labor recruitment efforts were supported by only one-third of ornamentals
foliage, and fern respondents (Table 26).

Provide Housing

Provision of housing for workers and their families was supported by only 28% of the
foliage respondents. In sharp contrast, 71% of fern respondents said "Yes" to provision of
housing for insuring adequate seasonal labor supplies (Table 26).

Increase Benefits

Starting or increasing fringe benefits were not regarded as an important method of
insuring adequate labor supplies in the ornamentals industries. In the fern industry, 88% of the
respondents said "No" to this provision, while 77% of foliage respondents indicated a negative
response (Table 26).






20










Table 26. Employer Activities To Insure Adequate Seasonal Labor Supply in the Future,
Percentage Yes or No, Ornamentals


Percentage
Activity Foliage Ferns Omamentals
No Yes No Yes No Yes

Increase Wage Rate 37 63 53 47 40 60

Increase Labor Recruitment 67 33 6 35 67 33
Efforts
Provide Housing for Workers & 72 28 29 71 72 28
Family
Start or Increase Benefits to 77 23 88 12 81 19
Workers
Shift to Registered Labor 88 12 88 12 89 11
Contractor
Hire H-2A Temporary Foreign 87 13 69 31 85 15
Agricultural Workers
Join A Cooperative That 95 5 81 19 93 7
Supplies Seasonal Workers
Decrease The Need For Field Labor, 46 54 50 50 50 50
By Increasing Labor Saving Devices
Change Production to Crop Requiring 64 36 88 13 72 28
Less Labor
Decrease Production or Quit Farming 72 28 82 18 76 24




Shift to Registered Labor Contractors

There was only minor positive response to shifting to registered labor contractors for insuring
labor supplies in the ornamentals industries. For both foliage and fern industries, there were only
12% of the respondents in each industry that felt that this action would adequately deal with labor
supply problems (Table 26).

Hire H-2A Workers

There was considerably more interest expressed for H-2A workers in the Florida fern industry
when compared with interest toward H-2A workers for the Florida foliage industry. Thirty-one
percent of fern respondents favored the H-2A option compared with only 13% of foliage
respondents (Table 26).


21










Join a Cooperative That Supplies Field Workers

Over 90% of ornamentals respondents did not support the notion of joining a cooperative for
supply of seasonal workers. However, in the fern industry considerably more interest was
expressed toward labor cooperatives as a vehicle for solving labor supply problem (Table 26).

Increase Use of Labor Saving Technolog

Roughly one-half of ornamentals, fern, and foliage respondents agree that increased use of
labor-saving technology could lessen the problem of future labor supplies (Table 26).

Change To Crop Requiring Less Labor

Approximately one-third of foliage respondents agree that changing production to a crop
requiring less labor could solve labor supply problems. However, only 13% of the fern
respondents agree with this proposition (Table 26).

Decrease Production Or Quit Farming

There is a reluctance by ornamentals growers to decrease production or quit production
altogether in the face of problems with seasonal labor supplies. Only 18% of fern growers and
28% of foliage growers indicated willingness to decrease production or quit farming altogether
when seasonal labor supplies become inadequate (Table 26). Part of this result can be explained
by the fact that seasonal labor is of lesser importance to ornamental production compared with
year around labor. Also, ornamentals employers believe that year around workers can be more
readily attracted to employment in the ornamentals industry.





















22










CONCLUDING REMARKS


It is concluded that employers in Florida's ornamental industries are likely to increase wage
rates and/or adopt labor saving technology when faced with serious labor supply problems. Two-
thirds or more of the respondents to this survey indicated that they would NOT increase labor
recruitment efforts, change to other crops, provide worker housing, decrease or quit production,
start or increase worker benefits, shift to a labor contractor, or join a labor supply cooperative to
insure adequate seasonal labor requirements.

A summary profile of seasonal workers in Florida's ornamentals industries reveals the
following findings (when ornamentals workers are compared with workers in Florida's fruit and
vegetable industries):

-- A relatively higher proportion of Caucasian-non Hispanic workers;

A higher incidence of women workers; and

-A relatively younger worker force.

Additional research is needed to determine why these conditions exist in the Florida
ornamentals industry. Our hypotheses are that:

(1) The higher proportion of Caucasian workers is due to availability of workers from the
local labor pool, as opposed to securing migrant workers;

(2) The physical requirements of most jobs in ornamentals are suitable for either gender; and

(3) Ornamentals jobs are appropriate for young people entering the job market.



















23




















APPENDIX A




THE QUESTIONNAIRE












24










UNTVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT

FLORIDA FARM LABOR RESEARCH STrRVEY
FLORIDA FRUTT. VGETABLE AND
ORNAMENTAL HORTICULTURAL GROw(ERS


CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

EMPLOYER INFORMATION:

Type of Business:
Owner/Operator
Partnership
Corporation
Cooperative

Name of County where farm is located Town:

If production occurs in more thin one county, please identify aI counties


Job Title of Respondenr

What Mlio Prtoduct were produced in the past two seasons?
Check the categories that apply to your operation.

Fruits and Nut Veetables and Melons Ornamental
Oranges Tomatoes Foliage
SGrapefruit Sweet Corn Cut Flowers
STangerines Potatoes Pot Flowers
Lemons / Limes Green Peppers Bedding Plants
Strawberries Celery Cut Greens 'Ferns
SPecans Lettuce Woody Ornamentals
SAvocados Watermelons _Other Ornamen:als
Other Fruits/Nuts Other Vegetables/Melons
If other, specify below. If other, specify below: If other, specify below:


Estimate the vaiue of the above marked products produced in 1987-187 ?

Did you directly hire sasonal or temporary farm field labor during the past two seasons?

.Yes
No

Did you hire seasons farm field workers through labor contractors during the pat two seasons

Yes
No









FOR FARM TMLOYI RS: (If you hired seasonal farm labor directly or hired SesoMna farm
labor through labor contractors Pluase Aaswer the questions below
and provide as much information as possible.)

1. How many seasonal faI field workers were employed during your Rtak week for the
following seasons?
Last Sena m (19186-. Present Suesn (1987-tgI
S1-7 1-7
8-20 8-20
21 49 21 -49
50 99 0 99
100 499 100 499
Over 500 Over 500
If available, please provide exact If available, please provide exat
number of field workers in eak week: number of field workers i #k wetk:


2. How many people are employed by your firm (far) as permanent employees for this year,
1987-88 (exclude all temporary or seasonal employees)?
1-7 50- 99
8 20 100 499
21 49 Over 500
If available, please provide the exact number of employees .

3. What was the approximate percentage of male and female seasonal field workers employed
during your Meak week of employment?

Male _%
Female %

Total 100 %

4. What was the relative age distribution percentages for seasonal field workers employed
during your peak week of employment for 1987-88 season?

S% Less then 20 years of age
% 21 35 years of age
S% 36 64 years of age
S% 65 years of age or older

100 % Totl

If this information is not available, please live the approximate average age of all Masonal
farm field workers employee

5. During your eik week of employment of seasonal field workers in 1987-.t, what percentage
were Non-migrant, Inrsuate, or Intersate migrants?

% Non-migrant or local residence
% Intrasate migrants (within the tate of
Florida across country lines)
S% Interstate migrants (across state lines)

100 % Total









6. During your Mak week of employment 19817-8, what were the ethnic backgrounds of the
seasonal field workers employed?

Domestic Caucasians (Non Hispazic) %
Hispanics
Mexican %
Other Hispanic %
Blacks
American Black %
Haitian Black %
Other Foreilg Black %
Other Workers (specify):.

Total 100%

7. What was the number of tatal an hoors worked in the saL wz by asonal field workers
for the following seasons?
Last Season (1986-3l' Present Season (1981-t8I
Peak Week Tota Man Hours Peak Week Total Ma Hours

Estimate the asmbtr of hours worked during the waLk ..wk for a single sesonal field
worker for the following seasons?
Last Season (1986-8'7 Present Sesson (19f-IS.)
Peak Week Hours Worked hrs/wk Peak Week Hours Worked _hrs wk

8. What was the number of days worked in the seak weel by seasotal field workers for
1987-88? days

9. Duritn your weak week of employment of tsional field workers, what was the average
hourly wage or piece rate paid for various skill levels for the following seasons?

Last Sason n(196-.7) Psh Rate Prrsent SeLon 19-4 ) -t8 ai Ra

HAND SKILLS RAND SKILLS

Planting/Porting etc. Planting/Poning etc.
Avenge Hourly Wage S /hr Average Hourly Wage S /hr
Piece Rate (specify): unit Piece Rate (specify): unit

Hand Harvest/Picking Hand Harvest/Picking
Averae Hourly Wage $ .. hr Average Hourly Wage hr
Piece Rate (specify): ___unit Piece Rate (specify) uctr

Other Hand Skils Specify Other Hand Skills Specify
Type .. Pay S .. Type Pay S
MACHINE SKILLS MACHINE SKILLS

Trctor Driver Tractor Driver
Average Hourly Wage S _hr Average Hourly Wage I hr

Other Machine Skills Specify Other Machine Skills Specify
Type hPay S__ Type --.Pay yp ,--










10. What was the average hourly wage paid to sonsesonal employees for the year 198"*.8

Full time S Pan time ..

11. Do you think nexi season's (1988-89) wage rate (hourly and/or piece rate) for seasonal field
workers will be different from this seasons (1987-18) wage rate?

No
SYes

If yes, how would you compare the two seasons to each other?
SExpect an increase in wage rate from 1987-88 to 1988-89
SExpect a decrease in wage rate from 1987-88 to 1988-89

12. If you have indicated in Question I that you expect wage rates (hourly sad/or piece rate
to change for field workers please explain why?





13. If changes in farm labor supply and/or wage rate are occurring, what reasons ca you give
to explain the situation?



14. Now would you describe the supply of farm field workers needed for your s.al w.t of
employment for the following seasons?
Last Season (1986-89l

SNot Enough If so explain:

SAdequate

SAbundant If so explain:

Present season (198.-8R

SNot Enough If so explain:

SAdequate

SAbundant If so explain:

Expected for Next Season (1988-R9)

Not Enough If so explain:

SAdequate

Abundant If so explain:








15. Do you think that the new immigration law is Iging to have an effect on the supply of
season farm field workers?

Yes
No

16. If yes, in what way will it affect the supply of fasr workers?

b cruse the Supply
DcrMse the Supply

17. What percenage of asonal field workers employed do you think are legal
immigrants? %

JS. Do you think your firm (company/farm) will have a problem in the future securing at
adequate supply of Iasonal farm field workers?
Yes
No

If yes, briefly explain:_



19. Which of the following activities, if any, would your firm (farm/company) undertke in order
to insure an adequate supply of seasonal farm labor in the future?

A. Increase wages paid to aetsonal farm field workers.
SNo
Yes If yes, briefly explain: __


B. Strt or increase labor recruit ent efforts.
__ No
Y es If yes, briefly explain:



C. Provide housing for workers and family.
SNo
SYes If yes, briefly explain


D. St a or incrsu benefits (medical, insurance) to workers.
SNo
SYes If yes, briefly explain"










E. Shift to registered labor ontractor.
No
Yes If yes, briefly explain:______________


F. Hire H-ZA temporary foreign aricuJrurl workers,
No
Yes If yes, briefly plain:


G. Join a oopertive that supplies harvest seon field workers.
No
SYes If yes, briefly explain


H. Decremse the need for field labor by increasing labor saving devices such as mechaization.
No
Yes If yes, briefly explain: -


I. Change Production to a crop requiring less labor.
No
Yes If yes, briefly explain:____ ___


J. Decrease production or quit farming.
No
Yes If yes, briefly explain:_


K. Other activities please specify.





Please remtrn as son as possible to:

Dr. Leo C. Polopolus
1130 McCarty Hall
University of Florida
Gainesvile, FL 32611
904/392-1854





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