Morning Report: Migrant laborers, Amazon jobs

Migrant workers plant Hillsborough County’s strawberries. They harvest the state’s tomato crops. Yet they earn less than $10,000 a year.

Bishop Robert Lynch led a rally and prayer vigil Monday in Tampa that called attention to Florida's undocumented labor force commonly known as the “invisible population.”

Speaking to a large crowd at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lynch noted the economic contributions of the 150,000 to 200,000 migrant workers in the state, many who live in fear of deportation. He urged Congress to offer them "a pathway to citizenship."

Monday’s rally marked the end of a seven-day walk by labor activists across southwest Florida to push for immigration reforms.

Lynch, who leads the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, compared the plight of the migrant worker to early Christians who endured persecution. Lynch noted that families are broken up and destroyed when parents are deported for illegally working in the U.S.

"What God has joined together, let no one tear asunder," Lynch said in English and in Spanish.

Working at Amazon: If you are at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma and can lift 49 pounds, then you may have a future career at the distribution warehouse that Amazon is developing in Ruskin.

The Tampa Bay Times looked at a similar distribution center that Amazon operates in Tennessee.

Workers there are called fulfillment associates. Their job involves taking purchased items off shelves, packing them and then shipping the orders to customers.

Physical strength and endurance seem to be most important, as workers are on their feet and moving products for 10-12 hours a day.

Although the warehouse job is unglamorous to say the least, the Tennessee distribution center had no problem filling the 1,000 jobs. About 7,000 temporary jobs are added for the holiday seasons. Workers are paid $10-$12 an hour plus benefits.

The new Ruskin distribution center, located at I-75 and State Road 674, is expected to open in 2014.

Well-executed campaign kickoff: A September campaign kickoff event for Attorney General Pam Bondi that drew controversy has collected $140,000.

The donations are a strong showing for Bondi, a Republican who so far is running unopposed.

The fundraiser came under scrutiny when the attorney general postponed the execution of Marshall Lee Gore, because it coincided with her campaign kickoff event at a private Tampa home.

Bondi later apologized for the decision.

Bondi had asked Gov. Rick Scott to reschedule Gore’s execution from Sept. 10 to Oct. 1, which he did. Scott said later he was unaware at the time why Bondi had sought the delay.

Gore was executed Oct. 1 for the brutal slayings of two Miami women. His execution was delayed two other times in 2013, as attorneys sought delays and filed insanity claims.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bondi’s total campaign contributions are $809,500.

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