Foreign sheepherders in Utah divided on wages, working conditions

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  • ignoramus Boise, ID
    Dec. 1, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Thank you, sheep men for letting me sit in on this chat. I get it, and appreciate it. The internet is more remarkable than I ever imagined.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    Agreed, Rover.

    But love seems to be a commodity that has been forgotten in favor of money and greed.

  • Western Rover Herriman, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    You ask this question as though you expect to find a substitute for love:
    "So when loving and caring fail [...] what do you suggest happen then?"

    What happens then, is that misery increases. You may try legislative or regulatory solutions, and they may have a temporary effect, but you will not find a lasting substitute for love.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Agreed, Terra Nova, especially with your last line: "The solution is greater love and care not greater regulation."

    But then we run head on into the kind of love and kindness and honesty displayed by bankers and those on Wall Street. Or the love and kindness of highly paid executives who tried to force workers to take a second 30% pay cut in three years while simultaneously giving themselves 300% pay increases. (Which wound up killing Hostess. And now, those loving and caring execs are asking the bankruptcy court to allow them some million dollar bonuses before paying off the creditors.)

    So when loving and caring fail -- as they seem to do on a regular basis in modern America -- what do you suggest happen then?

    Maybe we need to bring back the labor unions that have been seriously damaged by all that corporate and legislative love and care.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    On the one hand, people deserve living wages and decent living conditions. Those who "oppress the hireling in his wages" are guilty of sins that disfigure their own souls. They "grind upon the face of the poor." God will not hold them guiltless. Nor should we. On the other hand, a Peruvian shepherd who gets paid what he is promised and gets the living conditions he is promised and who returns year after year may well view what we would call wretched conditions as "pretty good" compared to what he has lived with all his life working sheep in Peru.

    If Washington shows up and tries to regulate everything, US sheep ranching will simply disappear. Then the shepherds from Peru (and elsewhere) won't find a shepherd job in Peru that pays what they got here.

    But regulators in Washington sit back in their spacious air-conditioned offices and congratulate themselves on improving working conditions by putting American ranchers out of work AND ruining the livelihood of guest workers AND driving up costs for American consumers while raising taxes or increasing the deficit. It's a joke.

    The solution is greater love and care not greater regulation.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    I remember my uncle, who was a rancher for years before he passed on, being asked how things were going in a particular year. He laughed and said he would have been better off that year had he gotten out of bed every morning, stepped out onto the porch, torn up a hundred dollar bill and let it fly away in the wind, and then went back to bed. But he loved what he did. And had a great sense of humor...

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 8:10 a.m.

    Oneoldman; That's the problem with these things today (refering to texting and these forums) emotions and humor are so hard to display. I felt the same way as JDL until you posted your clarification. Some of my ancestors also raised sheep, and they at times felt as you mentioned, especially when there were many problems come up at once, but by-and-large, they loved their work. the same thing can be said about anything that men do for a living. for instance, my favorite is this "my mother always told me there would be days like this, just not so many!" This applies to my job, and I love what I do, and it isn't raise sheep. just remember that without watching expressions, or full explanations, it's easy to misconstrue meanings, and intentions.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 28, 2012 7:10 a.m.

    I'm cautiously encouraged by your display of humor, old man. I'll continue trying to get a smile out of you occasionally...

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 9:06 p.m.

    It was a rancher up in Woodruff about twenty four years ago. A neighbor and good friend.

    Never hear of someone poking fun at himself? I was out one stormy night helping him with lambing. Four lambs had just been born with big problems. One had already died.

    But that sort of thing requires a sense of humor. For people who don't have one, humor is hard to recognize.

    Maybe finding humor in a miserable situation is some kind of "liberal" thing. Perhaps that's why liberals enjoy better mental health than some of our neighbors.

  • JDL Magna, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 6:54 p.m.

    Old Man,

    I'm calling you out on the statement you made, I really don't believe you!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    I had a sheep rancher tell me once, "The only thing dumber than a sheep is a human who tries to make a living by raising them."

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    H-2A visas are usually good for up to three years, with no return required? Are ranching laws different? The workers in the west desert were on H-2b visas. Are ranches allowed to use the agriculture visas now?

    The Federal government should be monitoring their workers more often, and go after the ones who leave the ranches and deport them. Another side effect of no enforcement.