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Sun Oct 14, 2012, 07:06 PM

Meet the Crawfish-Peeling Guestworkers Who Inspired Walmart Walkouts


Meet the Crawfish-Peeling Guestworkers Who Inspired Walmart Walkouts

How a few courageous workers in small-town Louisiana sparked nationwide actions demanding better wages and working conditions for those who pick, pack, stock, and sell the mega-retailer’s products.
by Cecilia Garza


Guestworkers at Walmart supplier C.J.'s Seafood, where they were forced to work up to 24-hour shifts with no overtime pay and locked into the plant to prevent them from taking breaks. Photo courtesy of the National Guestworker Alliance.


In the small town of Breaux Bridge, La., Martha Uvalle and her co-workers at C.J.'s Seafood, a Walmart supplier, faced abuses many Americans imagine only take place in poorer, faraway countries: They were forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours, with no overtime pay; threatened with beatings if their breaks lasted too long; and, on at least two occasions, locked inside the facility to work. Some fell asleep at their workstations from exhaustion.

Uvalle had heard that there were organizations that defended the rights of immigrant workers like her. In 2011, someone had mentioned a group called the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA).
...

So when Uvalle gave the NGA's number to her feisty co-worker, Ana Rosa Diaz, it was an act of tremendous courage. Diaz then actually called the NGA to report the working conditions at C.J.'s.

“Apart from the fact that he (general manager Michael LeBlanc) screams at us, he humiliates us all the time, apart from the fact that we were being made to work these excessive hours, this year the supervisors blocked the doors to the plant so we couldn’t take breaks,” Diaz told YES! Magazine of her C.J.'s experience. “One supervisor threatened to hit us with a shovel. And finally the thing that pushed us over the edge was that the employer threatened our families if we reported him.”

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A climate of intimidation...

...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/14-0

8 replies, 1527 views

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Reply Meet the Crawfish-Peeling Guestworkers Who Inspired Walmart Walkouts (Original post)
Catherina Oct 2012 OP
ProfessionalLeftist Oct 2012 #1
ashling Oct 2012 #4
tavalon Oct 2012 #2
tavalon Oct 2012 #3
limpyhobbler Oct 2012 #6
limpyhobbler Oct 2012 #5
Odin2005 Oct 2012 #7
Catherina Oct 2012 #8

Response to Catherina (Original post)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 08:18 PM

1. Mark my words....

...THIS is what Romney, the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, et al want for the U.S. They WANT our workers to be treated like this and like they are in China. To them, this is a fabulous business model! And it's what they intend to do when they're further in power than they already are. They've just ONE more step to a complete takeover of this country - the 2012 Presidential Election.

After that, this what work will be like for a lot of U.S. workers. Just like it is in China. Modern-day slavery. And when you can no longer work the required 12-16-hour days 6-7 days a week to enrich the Gilded Class -- you can goddamn drop dead because there will be little to no healthcare or retirement for you.

THAT is what is at stake in this election. And these brain-dead idiots who support Romney either don't GET this, or they don't care. This level of STUPID is beyond me. And it's all unacceptable.

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Response to ProfessionalLeftist (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 08:53 PM

4. To us this is morally repugnant

To Romney et al., it is a business model

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 08:29 PM

2. Geez, the more things change, the more they stay exactly the same!

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 08:39 PM

3. These are the Norma Rae's of this generation

May they lead us back to where workers should be, in a collective/union, for protection, safety and security of all workers.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 09:08 PM

6. +1 nt

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 09:08 PM

5. whoa. nt

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 09:02 AM

7. I can't believe this is happening in this country!

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 02:22 PM

8. Seriously... As jaded and blase as I am

to the point where few things about human greed shock me, this did. I'm not even sure why because I knew the immigrant tomato workers in Florida are getting similarly abused. I'm as angry as you are.

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