Filipino ex-employees say Grand Isle Shipyard pressed them into 'involuntary servitude'
Keep an eye on this story. As noted here -- two of the dead workers were Filipino.
Former skilled laborers imported from the Philippines to work for Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. filed a class-action lawsuit against the company a year ago charging it with abusive and exploitative working conditions, including requiring them to pay between $2,000 and $3,500 a month to live in 10-foot by 10-foot rooms, six to a room, on a work barge and in a Galliano bunkhouse that had been converted from a bowling alley.
It's unclear whether any of the workers who filed suit were among those aboard the Black Elk Energy's West Delta Block 32 platform at 8:45 a.m. Friday when an explosion and fire killed one worker, left another still missing, and injured 11 more of the 22 workers on board the platform. The worker who was killed and the one who is missing are both from the Philippines.
"I know workers on the platform were from the Philippines, but none to my knowledge are our clients," said Lori Mince, an attorney representing the former workers.
Just 10 days ago, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered that all present and former workers for Grand Isle Shipyard and DNR Offshore and Crewing Services, a job placement and recruitment firm with an office in Manila, the Filipino capital, be sent forms giving them the opportunity to join the lawsuit. The forms have not yet been sent out, Mince said.