Fresno, CA — An unemployed Fresno man has politely turned down an offer to pick lettuce for $12.00 starting next Monday. 32-year-old Theo Dodge has been unemployed since he was terminated for making “racially insensitive” comments on social media. On Friday, after several friends challenged him to walk in the shoes of migrant workers, Mr. Dodge politely turned down a job picking lettuce at nearby Birch Farms.
“Theo’s always going on about how illegals, as he calls them, are taking our jobs,” said friend and former girlfriend Carol Haight. “I mean, his bigotry is why we can’t be around each other anymore. Anyhow, Keith [Theo’s friend] told him to ‘put his money where his mouth is’ and pick lettuce. Keith even had the owner call him. Theo said, ‘no thank you.'”
A recent survey shows more than half of California farmers have struggled to find enough labor to pick all their crops. Nearly 90 percent of farmers surveyed reported that they had raised wages in recent years in hopes of hiring enough people. Many factors are driving the shortage, including new aggressive anti-immigrant programs from the Trump Administration. Also, according to analysts, the lack of a formal guest-worker program is significantly impacting farming yields.
An estimated 50 to 70 percent of California’s hired farm workers are not authorized to work in the United States, according to the study. And according to Mr. Dodge, these “illegal aliens” were the reason he lost his job for using racial epithets on social media.
“Look, man, all these Mexicans are coming across the border and causing me to say all these things,” said Mr. Dodge out in front of his East Church Street home. “They’re stealing all my healthcare and making it hard for me to find a job. And everyone now is saying I’m a hypocrite for not taking that picking job. But the fact of the matter is, I’m overqualified.”
Mr. Dodge was terminated from an area Les Schwab tire center after management learned of his online screeds. He says he is continuing to look for work, but won’t take any job that involves Mexicans, including “places like Taco Bell.”