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"Slavery Is Still Going on in America": Blumenthal Calls to Extend Whistleblower Protections for H-2B Guest Workers,


Business  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', ethics, world, humanrights, HumanRights, abuse, business, corporate, dishonesty, money, usa )

JL
- 537 days ago - citizenvox.org
Many guest workers experience harsh working conditions that most Americans might expect to find in developing countries, but would be surprised to see in the US--and these workers lack the right to blow the whistle when they suffer illegal abuse or mistr



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JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 12:37 pm
“Slavery is still going on in America”: Blumenthal calls to extend whistleblower protections for H-2B guest workers

By: Guest blogger

By Siya Hegde

Many guest workers experience harsh working conditions that most Americans might expect to find in developing countries, but would be surprised to see in the US — and these workers lack the right to blow the whistle when they suffer illegal abuse or mistreatment.

Imagine what it might feel like to be held captive by someone who has presumed the responsibility as your legal sponsor in the United States. First your passport is confiscated, erasing your personal identity, and then you are compelled to work fourteen hours a day nonstop.

After hours of hard labor, physical and verbal threats, you return to a crammed confined living space with inadequate access to food and water that you share with two dozen others.

And you are denied the right to do or say anything in your defense.

Sounds crazy right? Unfortunately, this is the experience of many workers who are here in the United States working as a temporary guest worker on an H-2B visa.

Tens of thousands of low-skilled, temporary H-2B migrant workers travel to the United States every year. These workers arrive expecting that they will enjoy its economic opportunities and climb the social ladder on the way to attaining their permanent residency. Some have even gone so far as to say that these acts of guest worker exploitation and abuse are violations of the thirteenth amendment.

However, the Senate could address the needs of H-2B workers as a part of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744.

In its current form, S.744 does not provide whistleblower protections of H-2B workers. If whistleblower protections were provided for these workers, they would have a means to end their subjection to workplace abuse.

Thankfully, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has recognized that the abusive practices of H-2B employers should no longer go unchecked. Blumenthal has introduced amendment 1429 to S.744 and has called for bipartisan support to extend whistleblower protections to H-2B workers, a simple right that the majority of the private sector enjoys.

All workers, regardless of their immigration status, should be treated as equals in the workplace. No longer should we stand by and watch a large segment of the population be exploited on the job. After all, H-2B workers are our guests; no guests should be treated the way that they have been.

Blumenthal’s push to reform whistleblower protections for H-2B rights would certainly be a step in the right direction. If these protections are granted, H-2B workers would no longer be subjected to the perils of industry, including dangerous working conditions. Furthermore, it would compel us to reevaluate our democratic ideals and the manner in which we execute them.

Siya Hegde is a worker health and safety intern for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 12:56 pm

The life of a "guest worker" these people are treated in ways that no one should be treated. In all likelihood they will make about $5.00 a day for an 18 hour day. Should they want food they need to have a way to self provide that food or pay far more than is affordable. After an 18 hour day in the hot sun, one might want to cool off with a shower, the going is price is $5.00 for the land owner or his field hand to turn the hose on you. The "guest worker" has no transportation to town, has no office in DC to file a complaint, is all too often beaten by field hands or the land owner. Should familiar, it should.

I would like to see some changes, this just might be one. Though the way Congress is behaving over a simple, long over due immigration bill, I doubt we should expect that.
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 12:58 pm
Thanks for painting an accurate picture for us Kit. You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 1:32 pm

At present, there are approximately 12-14 million undocumented workers and between 3-4 million guest workers in the United States. Since 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed, U.S. businesses have been relying on a system of migrant labor using guest workers in jobs that are primarily unskilled. These guest workers’ conditions in the U.S. include confinement to one employer, wage withholding and onerous work arrangements. Due to a lack of laws and regulations governing minimum wages and hourly wage standards, employers can and often do mistreat and exploit these guest workers.
http://www.stcloudstate.edu/news/newsrelease/default.asp?storyid=38274

It really bothers me that we do give our consent for this treatment of fellow humans. We give that consent by our silence. Thank you, J L for giving this an airing.
If I could I would send you a basket of green stars.
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 1:44 pm
Thanks Kit--and also for the additional data and background information.You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
 

S J. (118)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 2:41 pm
I was a slave indeed, when I studied in England.

Thank JA L
 

Roger Garin-michaud (113)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:11 pm
noted, thanks!
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:16 pm
You are welcome SJ and Roger!
 

Anette S. (23)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:54 pm
noted
 

Mitchell D. (132)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:54 pm
All of this abuse is being brought to you by the very same people, I am sure, who are working diligently to do away with unions, in the USA.
If it weren't for unions, you, also, would be working long days, no weekends, for a pittance! Can any of you recall seeing pictures of the old "IF YOU DON'T COME TO WORK SUNDAY, DON'T COME ON MONDAY" signs?
 

Mitchell D. (132)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:56 pm
Oh, did I forget to say that this was happening in "Christian" America?
Bunch of hypocrites!
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 3:58 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last day.
 

Judy C. (101)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 6:07 pm
This type of work is just a step above slavery. Many people would like to think this kind of thing doesn't happen here, but it does! I hope Blumenthal's amendment 1429, attached to S.744, succeeds. It will extend whistleblower protections to these guest workers. They deserve to have a voice. Thanks J.L.
 

JL A. (276)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 7:08 pm
You are welcome Judy.You cannot currently send a star to Judy because you have done so within the last day.
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Tuesday July 2, 2013, 9:33 pm
And the petition to support Sen. Blumenthal's proposed amendment is where?
 

Patricia H. (454)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 1:43 am
noted
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 12:22 pm
I am afraid we are too late for a petition - I fear they voted and passed S744 late last week. Of course we can try the House. Anyone live in Florida? Alan Grayson would probably be on board with it.
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 12:26 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Joanne because you have done so within the last day.
 

Marija Mohoric (47)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 1:11 pm
noted, thank you
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 1:15 pm
You are welcome Marija
 

Lois Jordan (58)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 4:37 pm
This whole immigration bill is bad...a piece of phony baloney meant to be a cash cow for more private corporate contractors, while militarizing the border and making the pathway to citizenship extremely long and difficult. I've been mailing my House Rep. to please vote "no" on it in its present form.
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 4:42 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last day.
 

Jude Hand (59)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 9:03 pm
Noted. The petition please...
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 9:23 pm
S.AMDT.1429 to S.744 Purpose will be available when the amendment is proposed for consideration. See Congressional Record for text.
Sponsor: Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] (introduced 6/20/2013) Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 6/20/2013 Senate amendment submitted

S.744
Latest Title: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
Sponsor: Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] (introduced 4/16/2013) Cosponsors (7)
Related Bills: H.R.490, S.223, S.616
Latest Major Action: 6/27/2013 Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 68 - 32. Record Vote Number: 168.
Latest Action: 6/27/2013 Senate ordered measure printed as passed.
Senate Reports: 113-40

Joanne is right==too late for petition.
 

Katie D. (112)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 9:26 pm
Thank You
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 9:32 pm
You are welcome Bill and Katie.
 

M Away M. (461)
Wednesday July 3, 2013, 11:34 pm
This is so sad. I have seen this up close and personal.
 

Helen Porter (40)
Thursday July 4, 2013, 1:05 am
Thank you for the information.
 

John B. (122)
Thursday July 4, 2013, 3:53 am
Thanks JL for the post. Senate Bill S-744 needs whistleblower protection and kudos to Sen. Blumenthal for introducing Amendment 1429 to address this. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (276)
Thursday July 4, 2013, 6:35 am
You are welcome Zee and John. Best hope now is conference committee.
You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last day.
 

Debra Tate (17)
Friday July 5, 2013, 12:10 am
noted
 

Aud nordby (715)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 3:03 am
noted
 

GGmaSheila D. (169)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 11:32 pm
What is really sad is that it looks like no whistleblowers are safe in America anymore...Look at Manning & Snowden. The House is predominently GOP so I doubt that anything will get thru that maze of pork and rehashing of old business, unless it will benefit themselves in some way. Thank you for the article.
 

Sergio Padilla (62)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 12:20 pm
Thanks
 

JL A. (276)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 1:26 pm
You are welcome GGma and Sergio
 

alicia m. (100)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 12:12 am
noted, shared at the gorgeous Slavery Today group. Please join!
gracias
 

Natasha Salgado (578)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 1:11 am
PITIFUL. Thx JL
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (281)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 1:48 am
This is abuse in every way Thanks for sharing Alicia
 

Yvonne F. (177)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 5:22 am
Great post!!! Great article!!! Great comments!!! Thanks JL for posting and Alicia for sharing in the "Slavery Today" Group. Become a member and make the change so desperately needed!
 

JL A. (276)
Sunday November 3, 2013, 6:12 am
You are welcome Alica, Natasha and Yvonne!
 

Jessica K. (99)
Tuesday November 5, 2013, 4:46 pm
Thanks for posting this for us. Noted.
 

JL A. (276)
Wednesday November 6, 2013, 2:19 pm
You are welcome Jess
 
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