“Conditions are arguably even worse in the international fish industry. At Walmart, you can buy inexpensive bags of frozen crawfish and shrimp. As with clothing subcontractors, Walmart signs contracts with suppliers that provide shellfish at low cost. And as in the apparel industry, Walmart’s pressure for low prices means seafood suppliers squeeze every cent out of labor. In 2012, the Worker Rights Consortium issued a report excoriating Walmart for contracting with C.J.’s Seafood, a crawfish processer that brought guest workers from Mexico to its Louisiana processing facility. C.J.’s forced them to work sixteen to twenty-four-hour shifts and locked them in the plant. Workers were threatened with deportation if they complained. Despite these threats, a worker named Ana Rosa Diaz, who had left her four children at home in Tamaulipas, Mexico, to find work, called the National Guestworker Alliance and reported the conditions. This started a series of investigations, including by the U.S. Department of Labor. Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, said, “The extreme lengths of the shifts people were required to work, the employer’s brazenness in violating wage laws, the extent of the psychological abuse the workers faced and the threats of violence against their families—that combination made it one of the most egregious workplaces we’ve examined, whether here or overseas.” This pressure and bad publicity led Walmart to suspend the contract, but not to change its own labor practices or take any responsibility for the manufacturing of its products.”
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