Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Abuse of American Guestworkers

2/28/07. The New York Times reports: Each year 120,000 foreign workers receive visas to do farm work or other low-skilled labor, usually for three to nine months. These programs grew out of the World War II bracero program, in which hundreds of thousands of Mexicans worked on farms and railroads, often in deplorable conditions.

Labor experts say employers abuse guest workers far more than other workers because employers know they can ship them home the moment they complain. They also know these workers cannot seek other jobs if they are unhappy.

“I’d say a substantial majority of U.S. guest workers experience some abuses with their paycheck,” said David Griffith, a professor in the anthropology department at East Carolina University and author of the new book “American Guestworkers: Jamaicans and Mexicans in the U.S. Labor Market.” “It’s the recruitment process especially where they get cheated.”

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