Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Guest workers

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new study entitled “Close to Slavery,” which criticizes guest worker programs. It is well worth reading because, despite the title, it is not intended just to bash the programs in the U.S., but to offer policy recommendations that could address many of their problems.

As for the current H2A program, the report is very sobering reading, with exploitation, lack of medical access (workers are afraid to seek medical attention and be seen as problems), lack of government oversight, and various kinds of intimidation.

The recommendations, however, are also worth reading, as they offer a framework to protect the rights of workers while also working to ensure that the wages of U.S. citizens are not pushed downward.


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