Signal Corp Fucked American workers from the beginning
Getting to the bottom of why this is a plight for all American workers
I have been following this story for a while, not only for the fact that it's a crime against humanity and every labor law of the United states, not just for the fact that I detest slavery and Visa abuses, not only for the constantly worsening conditions that working people in my United States must endure, the HUGEST GRIPE I have is that this is the work that myself and my fellow union brothers and sisters do for a living, and while we get a decent paycheck, we only get one when we work and we are by no means independently wealthy. Construction is quickly becoming the most dangerous profession in the country, it requires high skills and training. Signal International decided that it wouldn't even use any US workers at all, and was granted H2B, temporary, non-seasonal Visa's to bypass all American workers and get them from elsewhere. I know quite a few pipefitters and steamfitters who would have worked to get Signal back online.
So Signal Corp fucked the American worker from the beginning. Thats just the start to our story. I'll let the E-Active campaign, by Jobs With Justice, which has already had 9,000 E-mails sent to Congress asking for an investigation of Signal International, explain the rest of this travesty.
When Signal International needed workers to rebuild the shipping industry, they did not hire and train the local population. Instead, Signal used the exploitive “guest worker” visas and corrupt recruiters to hire workers.Click Below to Send An E-Mail to Congress
Welders and pipe-fitters from India paid recruiters up to $20,000 for the promise of permanent visas for themselves and their families. Upon arrival to the U.S. these workers were placed in cramped, unsanitary housing, charged exorbitant rent, and forced to work for Signal International. Their working and living conditions in the Gulf Coast amounted to modern day human slavery.
On March 6, more than 100 workers broke the human trafficking chain and quit their jobs at Signal in protest. These workers, together with the New Orleans Workers Center, are carrying forward the struggle for justice not only for themselves, but also for all immigrant workers in the U.S. by exposing the fundamental injustices of the guest worker program. These workers have toured the U.S. telling their stories and have appealed to Federal Government to investigate Signal International and their recruiters, only to be surveilled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
On May 14th, these brave workers started a hunger strike to demand action from our elected officials.
You can help! Please urge your Representatives in Congress to hold hearings on Signal International and to grant continued presence to the workers.
Tomorrow is day 20
I just got my E-Mail from Metro Labor and found that there was only 1 striker remaining, a man named Paul, today is the 19th day, last week Paul had his 54th birthday on the line. According to Scott Reynolds, the is State & Local Labor Council Coordinator for the AFL-CIO, writing for DC Metro:
Paul is of course much thinner than when I saw him last and his voice is weak. He slept most of the time I was there. When we talked he spoke with an almost spiritual sense of conviction about doing this so others wouldn't have to endure the same exploitation he and his fellow workers had suffered. He said 'prayer is my food.' There wasn't a trace of bitterness or anger. He seemed almost serene. I forget sometimes that struggle isn't just about tactics and strategy, though those things are undeniably important. It's also about sacrifice and courage. Paul may not know that his campaign is an uphill battle that hasn't yet found much of a spotlight or a patron, but if he does know I'm pretty sure he doesn't care much. The successful hunger strike at Georgetown University lasted nine days. Gandhi fasted for 21. Tomorrow will be day 20 for Paul. Amazing.I'm with you in spirit Paul, speaking of the plight and the injustices these workers endured, I happened across a site called "The New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice", which as of now is dedicated to spreading awareness of the injustices against both foreign and American workers in post-Katrina New Orleans. They are following the story, with as much information as they can get.
AFL-CIO General Counsel Jon Hiatt states
The AFL-CIO and its 10 million members are proud to support the hunger strike by these Signal workers, and their campaign to shed light on the abuses of the U.S. Government’s H2B guest worker program.I have a lot more stories of slavery and labor abuses that are affecting all Americans, I've needed a little time, but I'll try to get them out tonight. Don't forget to click below and send the E-Mail
For decades, the AFL-CIO has been fighting against so-called guest worker programs, programs that are in reality indentured worker programs.
The substantial exploitation of workers in these programs has been well documented, most recently by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and now through the struggles of these courageous workers.
These courageous workers have clearly shown us that the H2B program is a template for exploitation, and that we need to work together to expose the abuses of the program. By denying workers their labor rights, this program lowers wages and working conditions, to the detriment of all workers.
The AFL-CIO supports this strike and will stand in solidarity with the workers through this struggle.