Ken, you make a good point. A friend of mine who is an investigator for the INS (immigration Naturalization Service) often tells me that a foreigner may be kept over an American--get this--not because they 'work for less money' but--
because in their native countries they never had worker's rights and don't sue. Even for egregious violations!
Many farmworkers have fingers missing or have been exposed to toxic chemicals leading to the birth of retarded children. On the job accidents!! You know what they say? "That's ok!" They will not risk losing their job and never being re-hired just to file a report!!!
Jeff actually has to ENCOURAGE and INSIST that they file OSHA violations.
California recently enacted Farmworker Safety Laws that dictate a seat belt for anyone riding in the farm van. Why? Because the farm owners (mostly white guys) will pack about 30 Mexicans into a van (like stinkin' cattle) to ride to the worksite. More than once this has ended in tragedy.
* http://www.ca.gov/state/govsite/gov_htmldisplay.jsp?BV_SessionID[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@&BV_EngineID=cadcdlhliffdbemgcfkmchcog.0&sFilePath=%2fgovsite%2fpress_release%2f1999_09%2fl99174929.html&sCatTitle=Press+Release&iOID=11184&sTitle=Press%2bRelease+++
GOVERNOR DAVIS SIGNS FARMWORKER SAFETY LEGISLATION, EXTENDS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO VICTIMS OF DECEMBER'S CITRUS FREEZE
SACRAMENTO—Governor Gray Davis has signed AB 1165 by Assemblyman Dean Florez, (D-Shafter), AB 555 by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes, (D-Fresno), and SB 1011 by Senator Richard Polanco, (D-Los Angeles).
AB 1165 will improve the operational safety of farm labor vehicles through a variety of provisions. Beginning January 1, 2000, farm labor vehicles will be required to have seatbelts for all passengers, more information on registration cards, mandatory scheduling for safety inspections, provides $1.75 million from the Motor Vehicle Account for the California Highway Patrol to strengthen the enforcement of these provisions.
AB 555 requires the Labor Commissioner to provide the California Highway Patrol (CHP) with a list of all registered farm labor vehicles on a quarterly basis, extends the inspection liability for farm labor vehicles to vehicle owners and farm labor contractors and increases fines for violations of inspection requirements for farm labor vehicles.
The bill also requires the CHP, in cooperation with local farm bureaus, to educate farmers and farm labor contractors regarding certification requirements. AB 555 also provides that the willful violation of the provision relative to the operation of a vehicle that is operated as a farm labor vehicle would be a misdemeanor.
SB 1011 will extend the state unemployment benefits by 26 weeks to agricultural workers who became unemployed as a result of freezing conditions in December of 1998. It will also allow the Employment Development Department to calculate the base wages of future unemployment benefits for these workers based on the wages earned in the period prior to the freeze.
Governor Davis acted on these measures late Tuesday night.
So it's not so much the fault of the laborer as it is the fault of the Employer who is looking to skirt Laws put into place to protect life and limb.
Think Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to imagine what types of conditions most people around the world work in.
Again, there are two sides to every issue.