Saturday, December 30, 2017

ALJ Says that Leaf Tier Exists in Significant Numbers -- Based on His Anecdotal Experience

The ALJ practiced in Kentucky and he knows that tobacco is a big industry.  There are a couple of problems with his personal opinion.  The first is that the ALJ is wrong. 

Agricultural jobs are seasonal.  The people that pull tobacco (yes, that is the right word, harvesting tobacco is pulling the leaves) do so when the plant is ready for harvest.  It isn't a permanent job that exists in March of any year when County Business Patterns establishes its statistics.  Seasonal work can be relevant.  But agricultural work rides the different harvesting cycles of different crops in different areas.  The Wiki, citing the New York Times, says that tobacco farms employ 30,000 workers annually.  This ranges from planting, cultivating, topping, suckering, and pulling.  The DOT lists the titles and alternate titles that exist in the tobacco farming industry:
TOBACCO CURER 523.682-038
Tobacco Farmworker 404.687-010
Tobacco Grader 409.687-010
Tobacco Grower 404.161-010
Tobacco Packer 920.687-134
Tobacco Weigher 222.387-074
None of these occupations work in the stemming and manufacturing of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco. smoking tobacco, and snuff.  The Appendix for Occupational Titles Arranged by Industry Designation in the DOT lists 390 occupations involved in the tobacco manufacturing industry.  And no, I did not count them.  I copied and pasted into an excel spreadsheet and let software count for me.  

That long list includes hand bander and leaf tier.  

    Wraps trademark band around cigars: Moistens or applies paste to tip end of band and presses ends of band together around cigars. Places banded cigars aside for further processing. 
GOE: 06.04.38 STRENGTH: S GED: R2 M1 L1 SVP: 2 DLU: 77

    Ties tobacco leaves in hands (bundles) to facilitate processing: Selects loose leaves for hand and arranges leaves with butt ends together. Winds tie leaf around butts and pulls end of tie leaf into hand.  GOE: 06.04.28 STRENGTH: S GED: R1 M1 L1 SVP: 1 DLU: 77
So back to the ALJ and his personal experience living around the tobacco agricultural industry.  These two occupations are not in the agricultural industry.  These are manufacturing jobs per the DOT.  

County Business Patterns states that as of March 12, 2015, the entire tobacco manufacturing industry employed a grand total of 13,872 people.  

The OOH puts both of these groups into hand laborers and material movers.  The OOH says:
Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers move materials to and from storage and production areas, loading docks, delivery trucks, ships, and containers. Although their specific duties may vary, most of these movers, often called pickers, work in warehouses. Some workers retrieve products from storage and move them to loading areas. Other workers load and unload cargo from a truck. When moving a package, pickers keep track of the package number, sometimes with a hand-held scanner, to ensure proper delivery. Sometimes they open containers and sort the material.
Hand packers and packagers package a variety of materials by hand. They may label cartons, inspect items for defects, and keep records of items packed. Some of these workers pack materials for shipment and move them to a loading dock. Hand packers in grocery stores, also known as grocery baggers, bag groceries for customers at checkout.

Industry 2016
Code Title Employment        Percent of             industry Percent of occupation
TE1000 Total employment 2,628.40        1.7     100
Tobacco manufacturing
0.6         5        0

All hand laborers in the tobacco manufacturing industry, from sedentary to heavy and from unskilled to skilled, represent 600 jobs.  

Industry 2016
Sort Order Code Title Employment Percent of industry Percent of occupation
1 TE1000 Total employment 710.8 0.5 100.0
25 312200
Tobacco manufacturing
0.1 0.9 0.0

All hand packers in the tobacco manufacturing industry, from sedentary to heavy and from unskilled to skilled, represent 100 jobs.

There are a lot of laborers and packers, just not in the tobacco industry.  

Hand laborers don't sit more than 40% of the day or about 3.2 hours.  

Hand packagers sit less, about 10% of the day or about 0.8 hours.  

The ALJ did concede that the tobacco manufacturing jobs probably weren't sedentary.  So he does have that right.  


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