Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. For years, the Harvest Select plant in Uniontown, Alabama, has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. For years, the Harvest Select plant in Uniontown, Alabama, has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Jobs Americans Won't Do

At the Harvest Select Plant
At the Harvest Select Plant

Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. For years, the Harvest Select plant in Uniontown, Alabama, has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Harvest Select Plant
The Harvest Select Plant

At the Harvest Select plant in Uniontown, most workers were Guatemalan. Then Alabama's new immigration law went into effect.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

Uniontown, Alabama
Uniontown, Alabama

Harvest Select is scrambling to find native Alabamians to work in its Uniontown plant.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

158 Jobs
158 Jobs

"I have 158 jobs," says Harvest Select President Rhodes (right, with employee Misty Norrfleet), "and I need to give them to somebody."

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Jenkins Farm
The Jenkins Farm

At Ellen Jenkins's farm about 50 miles north of Birmingham, the sudden labor shortage left tomatoes rotting in the fields.

Photograph by Andrew Lichtenstein for Bloomberg Businessweek

Skeleton Crew
Skeleton Crew

A skeleton crew harvests tomatoes at the Jenkins farm. Only some of the crop will make it to market.

Photograph by Andrew Lichtenstein for Bloomberg Businessweek

Migrant Workers
Migrant Workers

Migrant workers in Alabama cook dinner after a day of construction work on a new Holiday Inn Express in Perry County.

Photograph by Peter van Agtmael for Bloomberg Businessweek