Guest-worker program helps Louisiana seafood facilities
BATON ROUGE- Congress' decision to quadruple the size of a guest-worker program might be described as a gift to Louisiana's seafood processing industry, which struggles to fill the seasonal jobs each year.
The LSU AgCenter says about 60 Louisiana seafood processing facilities hire more than 2,000 guest workers each year to peel crawfish and shrimp, shuck oysters and filet fish. Most of the workers come from Mexico and Central America and work 60 hours a week for a few months.
In Louisiana, the top guest-worker jobs include landscaping, packers and packaging, forestry and conservation, construction, and production helpers.
Ben LeGrange, general manager of Atchafalaya Crawfish Processing in Henderson, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1Xdmx8S) the plant typically hires 50 or 60 guest workers a season, mainly women who peel crawfish.