Synopses & Reviews
The exploitation of Latino workers in many industries, from
agriculture and meat packing to textile manufacturing and janitorial
services, is well known. By contrast, pineros -- itinerant workers who
form the backbone of the forest management labour force on federal land
-- toil in obscurity.
Drawing on government papers, media accounts, and interviews with
federal employees and Latino forest workers in Oregon's Rogue
Valley, Brinda Sarathy investigates how the federal government came to
be one of the single largest employers of Latino labour in the Pacific
Northwest. She documents pinero wages, working conditions, and benefits
in comparison to those of white loggers and tree planters,
exposing exploitation that, she argues, is the product of an ongoing
history of institutionalized racism, fragmented policy, and
intra-ethnic exploitation in the West. To overcome this legacy, Sarathy
offers a number of proposals to improve the visibility and working
conditions of pineros and to provide them with a stronger voice in
immigration and forestry policy-making.
This vividly drawn account fills many gaps in our understanding of
forest management in the Pacific Northwest, making clear that true
environmental justice must take into account not only stewardship of
forests, but also the treatment of the people who work in them.
Brinda Sarathy is an assistant professor of
environmental analysis at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
This is a scholar who cares deeply about her subject, writes with passion, and has a contribution to make in achieving social and environmental justice in Oregon forests. This is scholarship with a purpose, and the author is clear about the account's relevance to present-day policy issues.
- Richard Rajala, Department of History, University of Victoria
Although the exploitation of Latino workers in many industries is
well known, pineros -- Latino forest workers -- toil largely in
obscurity. Brinda Sarathy investigates how the US federal government
came to be one of the country's largest employers of Latino
labour, and documents pinero wages and working conditions in comparison
to those of white forest labourers. Pinero exploitation, Sarathy
argues, is the product of an ongoing history of institutionalized
racism in the West. Overcoming this legacy depends on improving the
visibility and working conditions of pineros and providing them with a
stronger voice in immigration and forestry policy-making.
Table of Contents
1 Invisible Workers
2 Cutting and Planting
3 From Pears to Pines
4 The Marginality of Forest Workers
5 A Tale of Two Valleys
Appendix; Bibliography; Notes; Index