Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back wages six decades later

The legal system may be slow, but sometimes it works.

After years of political pressure and legal wrangling, a court settlement reached Friday allows Mexican laborers brought in to stem World War II-era labor shortages to collect on pension funds they earned decades ago.

The class-action suit brought on behalf of the workers was settled in a federal court in San Francisco. It will allow thousands of graying former guest workers who manned U.S. farms and railyards to collect earnings withheld from their paychecks and sent to Mexican banks under an agreement between both countries. The money was supposed to serve as an incentive for the workers to return home.

One notable aspect about this case is how the U.S. and Mexico cooperated.

Some 6,100 former braceros, or their family members, will be able to collect about $3,500 each in lost wages from the Mexican government, said Chicago-based attorney Josh Karsh, whose firm filed the suit against the Mexican government and Mexican banks.

Not much money, and it is 60 years late. But at least some action.


Russell 9:07 AM  

Do they get interest on the money? The amount seems really small. I feel like WWII wages plus interest would come out to more than that.

boz 9:28 AM  

I'm pretty sure that's without interest. I think they are looking for a symbolic amount of money that lets them move forward on the issue. The Braceros probably deserve more than $3,500, but that isn't chump change either.

Greg Weeks 2:49 PM  

Yes, I think that unfortunately, providing interest would make it too expensive to be politically feasible.

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