After Hurricane Katrina, billions of dollars poured into the Gulf Coast region to rebuild.
Unfortunately, many corporations used these funds to enrich themselves instead of investing in the devastated communities. When Signal International needed workers to rebuild the shipping industry, they did not hire and train the local population. Instead, Signal used the exploitive ?guest worker? visas and corrupt recruiters to hire cheap labor.
Welders and pipe-fitters from India paid recruiters up to $20,000 for the promise of temporary visas for themselves and their families. Upon arrival to the U.S. these workers were placed in cramped, unsanitary housing, charged exorbitant rent, had their passports taken from them, and were even physically beaten when they spoke out against these unacceptable
conditions. Their working and living conditions in the Gulf Coast amounted to modern day human slavery.
On March 6, more than 100 workers broke the human trafficking chain and quit their jobs at Signal in protest. These workers, together with the New Orleans Workers Center, are carrying
forward the struggle for justice not only for themselves, but also for all immigrant workers in the U.S. by exposing the fundamental injustices of the guest worker program. These workers have toured the U.S. telling their stories and have appealed to Federal Government to investigate Signal International and their recruiters, only to be surveilled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Today, Wednesday April 14th, these brave workers are starting a hunger strike to demand action from our elected officials.
You can help! Please urge your Representatives in Congress to hold hearings on Signal International and to grant asylum to the workers.
You can take action via the web at: