Thursday, June 15, 2017

Immigrants, Wage Theft, and Trump

Undocumented immigrants are easy targets for employers who want to rip their workers off. The situation seems to be getting worse under Trump—which doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad before.—TPOI editor
Dairy workers protest. Photo: New York Upstate
How Trump Made Wage Theft Routine

…[W]ith Donald Trump as president, more employers think wage theft is even easier to get away with.

Eric Cortellessa, American Prospect
June 5, 2017
Enrique is a farmworker in California. He has a wife and two sons living in Mexico who depend on the money he sends them. For parts of the year—from May to November—he goes north to Washington to pick apples and cherries. Sometimes, he says, he isn’t paid for all the work he does. On one such occasion, he and his coworkers wanted to complain. Stiffing employees, after all, is a federal crime.

But it’s not so simple. Enrique is worried that reporting the crime could backfire against him by exposing his immigration status.

“When we get paid—sometimes we get paid and sometimes we don’t—we notice that there are hours missing, and we just fear saying anything, because we’ve been told repeatedly that if we say anything, they are going to call immigration on us,” he says.[...]

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Upstate immigrant dairy farm workers report injuries and intimidation

By Patrick Lohmann, New York Upstate
June 1, 2017
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Immigrant dairy farm workers who spoke to researchers in Upstate New York reported hazardous working conditions, wage theft and intimidation, according to findings published in a report by workers' rights groups and Syracuse University professors.

Researchers interviewed 88 immigrant workers at 53 Upstate dairy farms in 2014 and 2015. They did so without the farm owners' knowledge and granted the workers, most of whom came to the country illegally, anonymity for fear of being deported, the authors said.

Nearly half of the workers said they were bullied or intimidated by their bosses, and two-thirds said they'd suffered at least one injury. […]

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