Crash shines light on immigrants in Christmas tree workforce

GERVAIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s Christmas tree industry suffered a blow recently when three men died after a pickup truck slammed into a van carrying them and 10 other Guatemalans home from work at a tree farm. The Nov. 29 crash shined a light on Oregon’s immigrant farm workers, the driving force behind the nation’s largest Christmas tree industry. State Employment Department officials say Oregon Christmas tree farmers faced a tight labor market this year. They used farm labor contractors who found migrant workers in California to help with the tree harvest. Labor shortages have become a problem across the agriculture industry and have sparked a push in Washington to address the issue.