This phenomenological study adds understanding of the experiences of Latino workers in the meat-processing industry in rural Midwest as thousands of people, and a large number of Latino immigrants work in the meat and poultry plants in rural Midwest. Data was collected through in-depth, open-ended interviews. The purpose of the interviews was to gather data from the participants' perspective about their experiences and the meaning they made of these experiences while working in the meat plant and living in a small Midwest town. The stories of 10 Latino meat packing workers constituted the text to examine the phenomenon as a single case, to relate it to its universal qualities, and then come back to its particularities to understand the meaning of the experience. Seven major themes were found core to the phenomenon of being a Latino worker in the meat packing industry in rural Midwest: feeling forced to make the decision, willing to make it "no matter what", reaching the American dream: a job at the plant, living like a machine, becoming the "desired unwanted", life in two places, and the "payoff" . Participants of this study represented immigrants who came from high-poverty communities in Mexico and Central America with limited social and economic resources. This study supported theories of economics of migration labor force segmentation, and social capital; as well as foundations of meaning of work. Participants in this study face a difficult, painful, dangerous life, less enjoyable than they hoped, but profitable enough to become economic providers here and now. At their new community they live, deal with sociological struggles derived from their lack of information and skills to look for better opportunities, and their needs to fulfill commitments and loyalties. They feel discriminated and isolated while raising families and children and facing the existential and emotional conflict of migration.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2014. Major: Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. Advisor: Dr. Shari Peterson. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 185 pages, appendices A-C.
Alvarez de Davila, Silvia.
The lived-experiences of Latino meatpacking workers in a small midwest town: an existential and emotional conflict of migration.
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