The South rediscovers its roots.

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Erik Redburn
The South rediscovers its roots.

 

Erik Redburn

Slave labour that shames America

Migrant workers chained beaten and forced into debt, exposing the human cost of producing cheap food

"Three Florida fruit-pickers, held captive and brutalised by their employer for more than a year, finally broke free of their bonds by punching their way through the ventilator hatch of the van in which they were imprisoned. Once outside, they dashed for freedom.

When they found sanctuary one recent Sunday morning, all bore the marks of heavy beatings to the head and body. One of the pickers had a nasty, untreated knife wound on his arm. Police would learn later that another man had his hands chained behind his back every night to prevent him escaping, leaving his wrists swollen.

The migrants were not only forced to work in sub-human conditions but mistreated and forced into debt. They were locked up at night and had to pay for sub-standard food. If they took a shower with a garden hose or bucket, it cost them $5.

Their story of slavery and abuse in the fruit fields of sub-tropical Florida threatens to lift the lid on some appalling human rights abuses in America today."

[url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article3263500.ece]http://n...

So what are we going to do about it?

lagatta

Though alas not surprising, given the long history of chattel slavery, then post-"Emancipation" peonage,in agriculture in the US South, it is important to find out if there are any labour and/or anti-racist groups involved in campaigns to support these and other enslaved workers, whether by a boycott, a letter-writing drive, symbolic pickets, or other ways of expressing our solidarity with these workers denied both just wages and dignity as human beings.

AfroHealer

Unfurtunately this is the same situation with migrant workers in Canada as well.

Even the Federal laws/rules that govern the Migrant labour are eerily similar to slavery laws.

The employers OWN the laborer, and the laborer can't come back to Canada to work for anyone else, with ought the approval of their former employee.

That is just a recipe for abuse..

The following links provide some background info _

quote:

It is also important to note that some migrant workers claim to have positive work experiences in Canada. However, in our numerous visits and outreach in migrant communities we repeatedly heard forceful phrases such as, "they treat us worse than animals!" Migrant workers, mostly from the Caribbean, make references to slavery in explaining their situation in Canada. Other prominent concerns we have heard from migrant workers include:

* Working 12-15 hours without overtime or holiday pay
* Denied necessary breaks
* Use of dangerous chemicals/pesticides with no safety equipment/protection or training
* Being crammed into substandard housing with leaking sewage and inadequate washroom facilities
* Overt racism from townspeople sometimes resulting in physical altercations
* Acute pay discrimination between migrant and non-migrant workforce
* Unfair paycheck deductions such as EI and other services which they have little or no access to (it was discovered by Consuelo Rubio of the Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples in 2002 that workers can claim Parental Leave Benefits through EI)
* Inadequate health attention and services
* Exclusion from basic human rights legislation such as Health and Safety Legislation and most aspects of the Employment Standards Act
* Prohibited from collective bargaining and joining unions (Can Canadian unions respond to the needs and realities of migrant farm workers? Would a union have to originate from migrant workers themselves?)
* Inadequate representation in policy making and contract disputes
* Unavailable to claim residency or obtain educational opportunities for children despite extensive years of work in Canada
* Lack of appeal process when employers repatriate workers to home country
* Depression
* Barriers to essential services due to language and location
* Lack of basic ESL training
* Gender discrimination (ie few opportunities for female workers and women are heavily controlled and disciplined in various ways by employers)


[url=http://www.justicia4migrantworkers.org/]http://www.justicia4migrantworke...

AfroHealer

The "No one is illegal" campaign, has some more details on the legalized abuse in Canada.

quote:

No One is Illegal (Toronto) is a group of immigrants, refugees and allies who fight for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. We believe that granting citizenship to a privileged few is part of a racist immigration and border policies designed to exploit and marginalize migrants. We work to oppose these policies, as well as the international economic policies that create the conditions of poverty and war that force migration. At the same time, it is part of our ongoing work to support and build alliances with Indigenous peoples in their fight against colonialism, displacement and the ongoing occupation of their land.

WE DEMAND:

* Regularization of all non-status people in Canada
* No deportations / No detentions
* An end to secret trials
* No racial or religious profiling
* Recognition of Indigenous sovereignty
* An End to Imperialist Wars and Occupations


[url=http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/]http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/[/url]

Ibelongtonoone

so scrap the whole immigration department - no qualifications, no background or criminal checks, no limits per year, no orderly process or anything, hell scrap the whole citizenship ceremony too

Citizenship papers and Passports can be collected at any convience store to anyone who asks.

So following the rules and becoming a citizen through the channels available now are to hard?

Gee, living illegally in a country and working in an underground blackmarket economy offers no legal protections or work safety - who knew?

Spare me the racist talk, nothing at all to do with race.

jrose

quote:


Spare me the racist talk, nothing at all to do with race.

If that's how you feel, what's the point of continuing to drop by the anti-racism forum? Seems you expressed similar sentiment in another thread.

AfroHealer

quote:


Originally posted by Ibelongtonoone:
[b]Spare me the racist talk, nothing at all to do with race.[/b]

You seem to be missing the point that we are discussing the inhumane federal laws of Canada. Which are racist and a continuation of Slavery here in the so-called great white North.

I'd suggest you actually read the link that are posted on a topic, before you go about spewing racist & ignorant comments.

Ibelongtonoone

Sorry for saying - nothing to do with race in the anti-racism forum - I sincerely did not intend to offend - please point out to me what I said that was racist?

I thought this was about undocumented workers being exploited, I saw nothing in the previous comments in which the race of the workers being exploited was important.

I was merely wondering if Afro Healer agreed with the statements I made about scrapping the immigration department and having an open door policy.

Of course racists exist, and in the south - well duh? But the real problem, other than of course people of colour having to deal with racists - is living and working - in the shadows - instead of being a citizen and having the legal protections that come with that.

AfroHealer

There is a topic that was started in this thread, you might want to learn to stick with the topic at hand. and also learn to read previous post, before you respond.

Canada's immigration policies are racist, but that is a different topic. If u want to discuss that feel free to start a new thread dedicated to that, but please refrain from derailing yet another thread.

Its not rocket science, but I fail to comprehend why the simple rules of respect, seem to be violated over and over again on babble.

Please take the time to read the links that were provided in this topic, and respond to the topic at hand.

Ibelongtonoone

If you want me to shut up, I will but I did read yr threads, and I do feel much sympathy and empathy with migrant workers and illegals.

You don't want to talk about the legal process immigrants must go through and whether it's necessary or the dangers in working in a black market economy - better to just shout Racist! Racist! without the slightest bit of proof of such an insulting accusation.

You've suceeded in shutting down any interesting debate.

jrose

quote:


You've suceeded in shutting down any interesting debate.

AfroHealer has provided some excellent information in this thread, and others. If you are not interested in what other babblers have to say, or if you have nothing that might shed light upon the issues in this forum, I would advise you to stay out of it.

[ 02 January 2008: Message edited by: jrose ]

Erik Redburn

quote:


Originally posted by lagatta:
[b]Though alas not surprising, given the long history of chattel slavery, then post-"Emancipation" peonage,in agriculture in the US South, it is important to find out if there are any labour and/or anti-racist groups involved in campaigns to support these and other enslaved workers, whether by a boycott, a letter-writing drive, symbolic pickets, or other ways of expressing our solidarity with these workers denied both just wages and dignity as human beings.[/b]

Thanks for the thoughts, I think a national boycott of all Florida produce would definitely be in order. Hard part will be getting the word out.