Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owed Back Pay, Guest Workers Comb the Past

[As the employer associations promote new guest worker programs, veterans of the old 1942-1964 bracero program are still seeking justice for past abuses.]

By Randal C. Archibold, New York Times
November 24, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. — Here comes Abraham Franco now, 86 years old, skin leathery and bronzed from decades of work in the fields, slowly bending his small but sturdy frame into a metal chair at a faux wood office table at the Mexican Consulate here.

He still could not quite believe the news: Decades after working as a bracero, as thousands of Mexican guest farm workers were called in a program from 1942 to 1964, the Mexican government had recently agreed to a one-time payment, $3,500, of long overdue withheld wages.

The braceros are fading fast, some pushing or over 90, and are ever reliant on family and friends to get by. [...]

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