This week I’m bringing you segments from my documentary, “Voices from the Fields,” a story of migrant workers in Michigan. It will air Wednesday on Stateside.
Michigan is the nation’s largest producer of blueberries. But getting blueberries to our bowls means long tedious work for the people who pick them. And in some cases, workers complain that the pay is far too low.
When I was reporting for this documentary, I visited the Hamilton Family.
When I met up with them they were living in a broken down trailer behind an old flea market garage and a vacant parking lot cluttered with tall weeds in southwest Michigan.
Seven people were living in the trailer. One of them was Randy Hamilton Sr., the father of the family. They are white and are a minority in the fields. Hamtilon Sr. has been doing migrant work since he was in 8th grade. That's when he dropped out of school in order to make money picking in the fields.
“There’s no other jobs for us that you’ve got a high school diploma, and we don’t have it,” he says.
The Hamilton’s were out of work and out of money.
They quit their job picking blueberries in southwest Michigan. That’s because they couldn’t keep up with the picking demands in order to make minimum wage.