migrant worker rights

Alabama immigration: crops rot as workers vanish to avoid crackdown | US news | The Guardian

georgia was just the start and now it’s gaining traction.

Brian Cash can put a figure to the cost of Alabama’s new immigration law: at least $100,000. That’s the value of the tomatoes he has personally ripening out in his fields and that are going unpicked because his Hispanic workforce vanished literally overnight.

For generations, Cash’s family have farmed 125 acres atop the Chandler mountain, a plateau in the north of the state about nine miles long and two miles wide. It’s perfect tomato-growing country – the soil is sandy and rich, and the elevation provides a breeze that keeps frost at bay and allows early planting.

For four months every year he employs almost exclusively Hispanic male workers to pick the harvest. This year he had 64 men out in the fields.
Then HB56 came into effect, the new law that makes it a crime not to carry valid immigration documents and forces the police to check on anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.

anonymous asked:

Um the "slaves" u talk about in the middle east are not tricked into anything, they willingly come and sign up for a job cuz either they can't get one at home, or other reasons. And these "pennies" you speak of are enough for them to build a mansion.

(Here) you can learn about how the migrant workers you claim are being treated well and are being paid enough to build mansions themselves protested against their lack of pay and abuse–and how their employers, instead of listening to their demands, insisted that they go home. 

(Here) you can hear from not one but tens of thousands of south/east asian and african men and women that attest to being tricked into coming to Dubai, they will tell you about how their passports were taken from them upon landing, and how they were they told that their first six months of work would be pay-less. They will tell you about how they were told that their living conditions would be spotless and comfortable, and their shock at discovering the reality of the actual living conditions. 

(Here) you can hear about how a sixteen year old Nepalese boy died of cardiac arrest while working under conditions that no human should ever be forced to work in. You can also hear about how Nepalese men make up the largest proportion of migrant workers but are the least paid. In this documentary you can hear from men that were promised a salary of 800 dollars, but were told they would be paid less than $300 when they landed. You can again hear about how their passports were withheld from them. 

(Here) you can learn about the number of migrant workers in Qatar that are going to die working under inhumane conditions before the first match for the Qatar World Cup even kicks off. 

1-2 Nepalese migrant workers have died every single day since construction has begun–and that’s just one demographic of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. 

(Here) you can learn about how migrant workers are forced to work for 12 hours a day under life threatening conditions, all day every day and sometimes for no pay at all. 

(Here) you can learn about how migrant workers were refused water until they worked a certain amount of hours, how their passports were taken from them so they would not leave, how they had to escape their camps and go to their embassies to escape the brutality of their employers. 

Let’s talk about the nepalese boy again–he left his family in Nepal to go to Qatar so he could pull them out from their state of poverty. It was only weeks later that he returned to the same family in a coffin. Do you know what it takes to induce cardiac arrest in a 16 year old, healthy boy? Do you know what kind of physical peril a 16 year old child has to go through to die of cardiac arrest? 

There are 1.3 million migrant workers in Qatar right now that bear the brunt of mistreatment and that have built Qatar from nothing. And what are they given in return? Shallow graves? close to nothing for pay? 12 hour work days in up to 50 C degree weather? What mansions are you deluding yourself with? The Gulf States do not and have not ever cared about migrant workers, they treat them like they are subhuman, the failure to pay them is documented and well known. The fact that these men are tricked into thinking that they will be paid larger amounts, live in better conditions is documented and well known. The face that these men are forced into working under perilous conditions every day is documented and well known. The migrant workers that you claim are being treated well have themselves protested their abuse. What are you getting by making it seem as if these workers are treated better than they are? Why are you so uncomfortable when faced with the reality that these people are treated like machinery? (1, 2, 3

And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien— Because they do not fear Me,” Says the Lord of hosts.
—  Malachi 3:5 (NKJV)

UPDATE*** For those eligible to vote, request your ballot by emailing philvote2016@gmail.com BY APRIL 22, this friday!!!

These are infographics I helped make to promote the Migrante Partylist! Help give a voice for Overseas Filipino Workers that endure unfair working conditions all over the world.

If you care about the safety and human rights and bodily integrity of women, you care about sex workers rights.

If you care about the safety and opportunities and human rights of poor people, to a living wage, to affordable housing, to health care, you care about sex workers rights.

If you care about the lives and safety and human rights of people of colour, you care about sex workers rights.

If you care about the lives and safety and job opportunities and human rights of trans people and especially trans women, you care about sex workers rights.

If you care about fighting western imperialism and capitalism and the way it destroys the countries, landscapes, resources, and lives of people outside of Western Europe and North America–if you care about immigration rights and migrant workers safety and human rights and the abilities of people in Southeast Asia or South Africa, for example, to survive with dignity and have protection from stis and have human rights which are respected, you care about sex workers rights.

If you care about the fight against HIV and are against the criminalization of poverty and the criminalization of HIV, you care about sex workers rights.

None of these things are extricable. ALL are connected, often multiple times over in a messy criss cross that white western imperialists ignore for their own profit.

If you want ANY of this to change, you need to be committed and supportive of ALL of it changing. Because that’s the only way it will.

Support us. Because deep down, if you have any ethics at all, it’s already compatible with your morality.

So this December, come out for us. Start those awkward conversations about lives lost in imperialist border policies, about TPP, about RHYA, about all lives mattering, sure, but many lives being much more at risk than others and how we need to be there to support and protect those lives. About affordable housing and poverty and domestic violence and rape culture and how only human rights can stop the wrongs.

Be an accomplice.

More than 400 Nepalese migrant workers have died on Qatar’s building sites as the Gulf state prepares to host the World Cup in 2022, a report will reveal this week.

The grim statistic comes from the Pravasi Nepali Co-ordination Committee, a respected human rights organisation which compiles lists of the dead using official sources in Doha. It will pile new pressure on the Qatari authorities – and on football’s world governing body, Fifa – to curb a mounting death toll that some are warning could hit 4,000 by the time the 2022 finals take place.

It also raises the question of how many migrant workers in total have died on construction sites since Qatar won the bid in 2010. Nepalese workers comprise 20% of Qatar’s migrant workforce, and many others are drafted in from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed: More than one worker died every two days in 2014
December 26, 2014

Nepalese migrants building the infrastructure to host the 2022 World Cup have died at a rate of one every two days in 2014 – despite Qatar’s promises to improve their working conditions, the Guardian has learned.

The figure excludes deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers, raising fears that if fatalities among all migrants were taken into account the toll would almost certainly be more than one a day.

Qatar had vowed to reform the industry after the Guardian exposed the desperate plight of many of its migrant workers last year. The government commissioned an investigation by the international law firm DLA Piper and promised to implement recommendations listed in a report published in May.

But human rights organisations have accused Qatar of dragging its feet on the modest reforms, saying not enough is being done to investigate the effect of working long hours in temperatures that regularly top 50C.

The Nepalese foreign employment promotion board said 157 of its workers in Qatar had died between January and mid-November this year – 67 of sudden cardiac arrest and eight of heart attacks. Thirty-four deaths were recorded as workplace accidents.

Figures sourced separately by the Guardian from Nepalese authorities suggest the total during that period could be as high as 188. In 2013, the figure from January to mid-November was 168.

“We know that people who work long hours in high temperatures are highly vulnerable to fatal heat strokes, so obviously these figures continue to cause alarm,” said Nicholas McGeehan, the Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“It’s Qatar’s responsibility to determine if deaths are related to living and working conditions, but Qatar flatly rejected a DLA Piper recommendation to launch an immediate investigation into these deaths last year.”

Some within Qatar suggest the cardiac arrest death rates could be comparable to those among Nepalese workers of a similar age at home. The Indian embassy argued this year that the number of deaths was in line with the average in their home country. But in the absence of robust research or any attempt to catalogue the cause of death, human rights organisations say it is impossible to properly compare figures.

A series of stories in the Guardian have shown that migrant workers from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere were dying in their hundreds. While some were listed as having been killed in workplace accidents, many more were said to have died from sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest.

The government confirmed in the DLA Piper report that 964 workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh had died while living and working in the Gulf state in 2012 and 2013.

The report recommended that Qatar do more to record and investigate the causes of death among the migrant population but it has made little outward progress.

After it was published, Qatar said it would reform the kafala system that keeps workers tied to their employer, and better enforce laws that require contractors to provide humane living conditions and ban them from seizing passports.

But the system that Qatar proposed to replace kafala would still leave workers tied to their employer for the length of their contract, which could be as much as five years.

Rather than scrapping the exit visa system, which in effect allows employers to stop their charges leaving the country without permission, Qatar proposed a complex procedure that still allowed employers to raise objections.

There are about 400,000 Nepalese workers in Qatar among the 1.4 million migrants working on a £137bn construction spree in the tiny Gulf state. Many travel to Doha having borrowed money from unscrupulous recruitment agencies, only to find the wages and conditions on offer differ significantly from those promised.

The Qatar government also points to increases in the number of labour inspectors and new laws requiring wages to be paid by electronic transfer as evidence that it is serious about improving workers’ rights and conditions.

But an Amnesty International report last month warned that Qatar was “dragging its feet” when it came to making meaningful changes.

“Despite making repeated promises to clean up its act ahead of the World Cup, the government of Qatar still appears to be dragging its feet over some of the most fundamental changes needed, such as abolishing the exit permit and overhauling its abusive sponsorship system,” it said.

“Six months later, only a handful of the limited measures announced in May have even been partially implemented. Overall, the steps taken so far are woefully insufficient.”

In November the Qatari ministry of labour issued a statement saying it was doing everything possible to improve working conditions. “We believe that the people helping us build our country deserve to be fairly paid, humanely treated and protected against exploitation,” it said. “That is why we are reforming our labour laws and practices.

“We fully appreciate there is much more to do but, as in every country in the world, change does not happen overnight. Significant changes such as these take more time to implement than some may wish, but we intend to effect meaningful and lasting change for the benefit of all those who live and work in Qatar.”


I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai

Donald Trump’s hair should not be.

It sits on his head like a soufflé, both airy and solid, as improbable as any building to which he’s given his name. In Dubai, I get to inspect Trump from all angles. His hair is otherworldly, but his face is more easily dissected. It’s tangerine, save two pale circles around his eyes.

Ivanka looks perfect, however. Even when her mouth is a moue of hate.

I am sitting two scant yards from Trump père et fille at a media briefing for the Trump International Golf Course, which is being built by the Emirati firm DAMAC Properties in conjunction with Donald Trump Townhouses and Villas. Trump has promised it will be the greatest golf course in the world.

Ivanka is angry because I asked a real question. In Dubai, this can land you in jail.


This May, I researched labor issues in the United Arab Emirates with a local journalist. To avoid being deported, he goes by the pseudonym Tom Blake. We interviewed construction workers building museums on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island. In the richest city in the world, the workers we spoke to were little more than indentured servants. For between $150 and $300 a month, they worked 13 hours a day, six days a week. Their bosses kept their passports. They landed in the UAE owing more than a year’s salary to recruiters back home. They could be deported for striking.

In Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, they had families dependent on their wages. However brutal it was, the Gulf dream was their one shot out of poverty. They could not fuck this up.

The UAE is not uniquely guilty. Migrants throughout the world, in the US as well as the UAE, do the worst work and suffer the worst state violence. While my research focused on Abu Dhabi, poor conditions are typical throughout the Gulf. Thousands of workers could die building the World Cup stadia in Qatar. Figurative blood stains the gleaming steel of Earth’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The day before Trump’s press conference, Tom interviewed workers building the luxury villas bearing Trump’s name. They told him they made less than $200 a month.


Stop the mass deportation of thousands of immigrants on April 1st.

I know we usually post news articles and not petitions, but it was fairly difficult to find articles that weren’t super shitty on this issue, either scaremongering about the rise that will occur in “illegal immigrants” or mostly being concerned about the loss of workers and economic potential for Canada rather than the rights of human beings. 

My name is —–, I am a migrant worker employed under Canada’s temporary foreign workers program. I work under the ‘low-waged temporary foreign worker’ scheme, a Federal Government program that ties me to an employer, denies me the opportunity to work for another employer and excludes me from many protections that other workers enjoy. I paid tens of thousands of dollars to work at my minimum wage job. I came to Canada to provide an opportunity for my family so that my children can go to school and have a better life.

 However, on April 01, 2015, the Federal Government will take away my ability to work. This is because the ‘four and four’ rule will come into effect. All low-waged temporary workers like myself as well as migrants employed under the Live-In Caregiver streams who have worked in Canada for more than four years will be banned from working and forced to leave. Tens of thousands of migrants will lose their job. This is one of the largest deportations in Canadian history.

 I am urging you to support me and the hundreds of thousands of other workers by urging the Federal Government to:  

  1.  An end to the 4 & 4 rule so migrant workers can continue to work here.

 2.  Grant migrant workers in Canada permanent residency.

 3.  Ensure migrant worker access to all social benefits and entitlements  

 4.  Enact legislation to grant permanent residency for all migrants upon arrival.

 I and the hundreds of migrant workers, and community advocates who have been raising the alarm bells on the program are urging you to take a stand against this mass deportation order. We want meaningful changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program that levels the playing field so we can work with dignity and pride. The temporary foreign program in its current form is flawed and only provides a pathway to precariousness. 

 We migrant workers know that government policies divide Canadian and migrant workers. Popular myths that migrant workers are stealing jobs and driving down wages of Canadian workers are untrue. The problem is with provincial laws that allow us to be paid less, and deny us real protection to ask for our rights. The solution is not to get rid of us, it is for all of us to work together to ensure no one is paid less than they need to live, and everyone can demand and win their rights. 

Slaves of Happiness Island: Molly Crabapple on Abu Dhabi and the Dark Side of High Art

“My message to the head of the Louvre would be to come and see how we are living here,” said Tariq,* a carpenter’s helper working on construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a $653 million Middle Eastern outpost of the iconic Parisian museum. Set to be completed in 2015, its collection will include a Torah from 19th-century Yemen, Picassos, and Magrittes.

“See our living conditions and think about the promises they made,” Tariq told me through a translator.

Last year, in his mid 30s, Tariq left his job at a Pakistani textile mill with dreams of being a crane operator in the Gulf. He showed me his certificate of crane proficiency, pulling the worn piece of paper out of the pocket of his beige salwar kameez. Recruiters promised him a salary of $326 a month—for a $1,776 recruitment fee to be paid in advance. With a cousin guiding him through the process, Tariq flew to Abu Dhabi to work for the Regal Construction company, one of roughly 900 construction outfits that employ foreign workers in the emirate.

But when Tariq arrived, Regal didn’t need him. For 24 days, he waited without pay, living in a squalid workers’ camp. When work finally materialized, he learned he would make only $176 a month. His boss confiscated his passport so that he couldn’t change jobs or leave the country. He sends half his salary back to his family. After 11 months in the Gulf, he still has not paid back the loan he took out to get there.

“How can I stay happy with a salary of $176?” Tariq asked, with an uncomfortable smile.