Last month, we kicked off the “Do Your Jobs” campaign to remind Congress of all the immigrants who are working hard to produce our food and drink this holiday season, fromThanksgiving turkeys to Christmas trees. We have profiled a series of immigrant workers who work every day to contribute to our country.
Now, we’re profiling one last worker: John Boehner:
John works 21 hours a week convening the House of Representatives, which he only convened for 156 days out of 365 days in they year.
John is the Speaker of the House in Washington, DC, who is from Butler County, OH. Sometimes, he has to carry folders full of paper from one heated House office to another. Sometimes, he has to stand at a podium for almost a whole hour to answer questions from reporters.
John worked 942 hours all year in 2013.
Normally, we’d close the profile with a quote from the worker calling for immigration reform. But instead, we’re going to turn it over to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, who made our point for us last week:
The New York Times did an interesting analysis of the workweek congress had. Different ways. We’ve all done various stories about how unproductive this congress has been. But, they did it by the hours. So 942 hours, not counting those pro forma sessions. Fewest hours in a non-election year since 2005 when this was first recorded. Far fewer than 2007. 1350 in 2005. 1,200 in 2011. These ads write themselves. You, Dan Balz, have to work 40 to 50 hours to make ends meet in this tough economy. Congress is barely putting in — not even putting in 30 hours.
Rep. Boehner and the rest of the House of Representatives have spent a record low amount of time in session this year trying to solve America’s problems. They really need to step it up in 2014.
So as we look toward 2014, we’d like to suggest that Rep. Boehner and other House Republicans take this up as a New Year’s resolution: Do Your Jobs. We even have some role models and potential members for Representatives to look to, in case they’re confused about what working hard for America really looks like.
What if Speaker Boehner worked more like Mark Gilson, a nursery owner from his home state?
Mark Gilson works seven days a week. Even on weekends and holidays, Mark must check on his greenhouses to make sure everything is operating smoothly.
Mark is a third-generation owner of a nursery in Lake County, Ohio, where he relies on seasonal agricultural workers and student workers to help run his business. He supervises up to 35 workers who do potting, trimming, weeding, and winterizing tasks at the nursery. In Lake County, each nursery job supports 3.5 jobs in the broader economy.
What if House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy worked more like farmworker foreman Teresa…
Teresa works 84 hours a week to protect her workers and our health.
Teresa Arredondo is a farmworker foreman in Bakersfield, CA. From the Coachella Valley to Kern County, Teresa manages crews and inspects products to be shipped around the U.S. and the world.
At work she ensures safety laws and regulations are in place. At home she is Mom to 3 U.S. citizen kids.
…or orange-picker Francisco?
Francisco is a farmworker from Porterville, CA. He has been picking oranges in Tulare and Kern County for the past 32 years.
In order for him to complete his job, Francisco must carry a 60-pound ladder from tree to tree and an 80-pound satchel filled with oranges. Whether it’s 100 degrees outside or pouring rain, Francisco continues to work. This is not an easy thing to do, but he does it with great pride. He understands that his work helps feed this nation.
What if Rep. Raul Labrador took some lessons from potato-harvester Fidel Silva?
Fidel Silva works 14 to 16 hours a day harvesting potatoes.
Fidel is a potato farm worker in Idaho. In the winter, Fidel works in freezing temperatures to plant the potatoes for the following year’s harvest. During the summer, he and other potato workers irrigate the fields in 100 degree heat.
What if Rep. Scott Tipton made sheepherder Alejandro his new role model?
Alejandro is on call 24/7.
Alejandro is a sheepherder based in Western Colorado. He’s responsible for 1200 head of sheep, protecting them from predators and injuries. Alejandro works 11 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide for his wife and two daughters, who live in Peru.
And what if House Republicans took the kind of entrepreneurial initiative we saw in Alo and Fredy?
Last year, the brothers started a company called TV Head Clothing in Miami, Florida, where they produce eco-friendly clothing and accessories. They use salvaged elements such as wood, vegetable-tanned leather, and bamboo to create unique designs that are environmentally sound.
“Being socially conscious and using the earth’s resources responsibly is only one of our priorities at TV Head Clothing. It doesn’t stop there. We know that we have a duty to society and the people around us, which is why we want to see immigration reform passed,” Fredy said.
It almost seems naïve to ask Congress to work as hard for America as workers in their districts do. But it really shouldn’t. In 2013, American workers of all immigration statuses worked hard for America—and the House Republicans worked part-time at best. In 2014, American workers of all immigration statuses will continue to work hard for America. House Republicans should honor their commitment by working just a little bit for them.
It only takes 15 minutes to vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship. They don’t even have to lift any orange satchels or brave freezing temperatures to do it. Next year, Rep. Boehner and House Republicans, just do your jobs.