Universidad de California
Condados de San Joaquín, Estanislao y Merced


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© 1999 Meister Publishing, foto por David Eddy: Billikopf entrevista a tractorista

California Agriculture

Los trabajadores del campo tienen sentimientos positivos hacia sus empleos, pero sugieren mejoras
Volume 53, Number 1, January-February 1999, pp. 33-36.

Seasonal and year-round farm workers have positive feelings towards their jobs and their supervisors. An important implication is that workers may not necessarily be looking for work outside of agriculture. Farm workers made numerous suggestions for supervisors and farm employers, such as the importance of treating workers with respect.

Workers prefer growers over FLCs
Volume 50, Number 6, January-February 1997, pp. 30, 32.

Given a choice, crew workers overwhelmingly prefer working for a grower rather than for a farm labor contractor. FLCs generally have a couple of advantages over growers: (1) less of a language barrier, and (2) the potential for providing longer work seasons. Nevertheless, it is growers who are perceived by workers as providing more work (per day and per season); better pay, benefits, and working conditions; better treatment, and even better communications and instructions.

Crew workers split between hourly and piece-rate pay
Volume 50, Number 6, November-December 1996, pp. 5-8.

Despite the potential benefits of piece rate, crew workers were evenly divided between those who favor hourly pay and those who prefer piece-rate pay. Crew worker concern about how piece rates are determined played a key role in the unexpectedly low preference for piece rate. Suggestions are offered for establishing piece rates as pay incentives.

High piece-rate wages do not reduce hours worked
Volume 49, Number 1, January-February 1995, pp. 17-18.

Some farmers resist increasing incentive pay levels when compensating seasonal crew workers. They have hypothesized that workers have a certain earnings goal for each day and that once this goal is achieved, workers will go home. This study shows that crew workers generally do not have such an earnings goal. When piece-rate paid crew workers do leave work early, it is more likely because they are overly hot or tired or that wages are low.

For wages and benefits, bigger dairies may be better, Barbara Reed
Volume 48, Number 2, March-April 1994, pp. 9-13.

Wages and benefits offered to dairy employees are highly variable. Herd managers and milkers earn more on larger dairies. Union employees out-earn their non-union counterparts in wages and benefits.

Pay method affects vineyard pruner performance
Volume 46, Number 5, September-October 1992, pp. 12-13.

Vineyard pruners paid on a piece-rate basis tend to work more quickly than those paid by the hour. Pay method had little effect on pruning quality as perceived by growers, although crews paid by the hour did seem to do a slightly better job. Total pruning costs were also influenced by vine vigor and vineyard location.

Predicting vineyard pruner performance
Volume 42, Number 2, March-April 1988, pp. 13-14.

More efficient pruners can be selected through the use of a properly designed job-sample test. A job-sample test can predict worker performance on the job. This is not true if there is no consistent measure of the criterion (i.e., job performance). This research shows that job-sample tests in agriculture can be extremely valid. Validity correlations as high as r = 0.68 were obtained.

Testing to predict tomato harvest worker performance
Volume 41, Numbers 5 and 6, May-June 1987, pp. 16-17.

This pioneer study was successful in showing that a job-sample test for tomato pickers was able to predict employee performance on the job. Workers ranged from being able to pick 3 to 12 pairs of tomato buckets per half hour. Workers who picked more in the test also picked more on the job. Validity correlations as high as r = 0.57 were obtained.

Response to incentive pay among vineyard workers
Volume 39, Numbers 7 and 8, July-August 1985, pp. 13-14.

When paid by the vine, pruners usually spread considerably throughout the field. However, there are circumstances wherein piece rate does not bring these differences out. Employees sometimes fear that fast work and high earnings at present, for instance, may result in a lowered piece rate in the future.

Why workers leave dairies
Volume 38, Number 9, September 1984, pp. 26-28.

Most separations are worker initiated and involve single causes. However, there are a large number of different reasons that can lead to worker turnover. About 80 percent of the turnover was under some degree of dairy operator control.

Giannini Foundation

Agricultural Employment Testing: Opportunities for Increased Worker Performance (1988, 26pp.)

Workers, even at the lower end of the pay scale, perform at different levels, and more efficient workers can be selected through the use of properly designed selection systems that include job-sample tests.

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Administración Laboral Agrícola

Correo electrónico:

Gregorio Billikopf Encina
University of California
(209) 525-6800