In this file:


·         Undocumented Hirings May Rise During Shutdown With E-Verify Offline

·         America’s Most Famous Novel About Bad Meat Was Actually About Immigrant Labor Abuses



Undocumented Hirings May Rise During Shutdown With E-Verify Offline


Leslie Patton, Bloomberg 

January 10 2019


(Bloomberg) -- Restaurants hungry for workers say they’ll keep hiring even though a government system to help them weed out undocumented employees is, ironically, not working because of the government shutdown over immigration.


E-Verify, a web-based Department of Homeland Security program to confirm recently hired employees are authorized to work in the U.S., is one of the government services that’s not running amid the standoff between President Donald Trump and Congress. Companies trying to use it are met with a red banner: “Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed.”


There’s no way restaurants can slow hiring now, even with an increased risk of bringing on undocumented workers, said Trent Colford Sr., regional director of operations at Hamra Enterprises, which operates 90 Wendy’s locations. The industry is facing a severe worker shortage amid a low unemployment rate, fewer young people in the workforce and competition from gig-economy employers.


“We’re definitely exposed, and there’s an increased risk,” Colford said in an interview. “Of the people that we’ll hire in this time frame, 95 percent of them will be OK. So there’s probably that 5 percent that will be at risk.”


Hamra, which also operates Panera Bread and Noodles & Co. stores, uses E-Verify to check on new hires. While the system is mostly voluntary, 24 states have some sort of requirement for employers to use it, according to LawLogix. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. compels its franchisees to use E-Verify, and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. uses the system as well.


“We are continuing to hire and complete the necessary paperwork just as we normally do,” said Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for Chipotle, which doesn’t franchise and had almost 64,000 hourly workers as of December 2017. Wendy’s Co. says the company has looked into it and isn’t aware of any disruptions to its hiring because of the shutdown.


Dunkin’ Brands is “hopeful the government shutdown will end to ease this burden,” Mike Shutley, the chain’s vice president for government affairs and sustainability, said in a statement.


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America’s Most Famous Novel About Bad Meat Was Actually About Immigrant Labor Abuses


Arvind Dilawar,

January 10, 2019


“I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” Upton Sinclair famously wrote of his novel, The Jungle.


The quote, taken from his essay “What Life Means to Me” for Cosmopolitan Magazine, has come to be understood as Sinclair bemoaning The Jungle’s failure to galvanize a socialist revolution in the United States. Instead, the novel ignited a national controversy over the unsanitary practices of the meatpacking industry. Within a year of the novel’s publication in 1906, Congress passed both the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act, establishing the agency that would later become the Food and Drug Administration.


But aside from being the muckraking novel that led to the creation of the FDA or a socialist call to arms that went largely unheard, The Jungle is a story of how U.S. society exploits immigrants. This reading is often overlooked, yet it is worth remembering that sympathy for and solidarity with immigrants is at the heart of this seminal work of literature — especially amid the xenophobic atmosphere of the United States today, where the president has shut down the government over a border wall with Mexico, detention facilities hold untold numbers of immigrants, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stalk communities across the country. It’s been more than a century since the publication of The Jungle, yet the predation described by Sinclair still persists.


While The Jungle is a novel, it is not entirely a work of fiction. As Anthony Arthur explains in Radical Innocent, his biography of Sinclair, The Jungle is based on two months Sinclair spent living and conducting research in Packingtown, the Chicago neighborhood at the heart of the U.S. meatpacking industry in the early 1900s. There, Sinclair toured stockyards and meatpacking plants both openly and undercover, interviewing everyone from laborers to foremen, social workers to chemists, priests to police officers.


Distilling all of this reporting into a fictional narrative was not unusual for the time; what mattered was that Sinclair’s claims stood up to scrutiny. The meatpacking industry denied everything, but investigators dispatched by then-President Theodore Roosevelt after he read The Jungle found that, as the president relayed, “the Chicago stock yards are revolting.”


Yet very little of The Jungle has to do with unsanitary meatpacking practices. Depending on the edition, the novel runs between 300 and 500 pages, and “perhaps thirty in all” describe meatpacking, according to Arthur. Dedicated to “The Workingmen of America,” The Jungle was openly meant to bring attention to the plight of working people at large.


If it were not for the immigrants at the center of The Jungle, Sinclair would not have had a narrative on which to hang his facts. The author struggled to connect everything he had witnessed in the meatpacking plants to what he wanted to say about socialism until stumbling across, and being invited into, a Lithuanian wedding in Packingtown. As Sinclair later wrote in his autobiography, “There were my characters … I watched them one after another, fitted them into my story.” The Lithuanian wedding thus provided the entire framework of The Jungle: A tale of immigrants searching for a better life but finding only exploitation and misery...