March 28, 2013

According to Director Sarah Paoletti of the Transnational Law Center Temporary of Pennsylvania University, migrant workers are facing greater risks and injuries more often in their workplace in comparison with regular and permanent workers. These types of workers carry much of the problems from the system which exposed them to more dangers of workplace accidents.  Many workers facing this condition would prefer not to tell authorities of unsafe conditions and accidents;   moreover they often do not even seek medical help for their injuries.

Paoletti said that there are lots of stories where workers with immigration status particularly undocumented workers are denied their full rights and benefits. When you turn your attention into the temporary worker arena, you will view a whole layer of other problems.

For instance, there were workers who tried to report through the union some infringements to the Board of National Labor Relations. In retaliation, Hoffman Plastics Company brought fraud in the visa charges against one of the complainants. The result of the lawsuit entitled, the Hoffman Plastics versus the National Labor Relations Board, declared the employee guilty and deported him without looking if the claim filed against the company was legitimate. In 2002, the Supreme Court looked at the decision and favored Hoffman.

According to Human Rights Watch, the decision takes away from millions of workers without documents in the United States their right to report complaints or to receive redress for any grievances, turning a serious issue related to immigration policy into a human rights problem.

A temporary worker is between a sort of legal limbo between a citizen worker and an outside contractor. Many are hired through a staffing agency eliminates any kind of accountability from the employers who can blame the deficiency in training or any lack of safety precautions to the staffing agency that is operating on its own.

There was another story that related the injury and the following death of a Mexican national identified as Carlos Centeno. He was a temporary employee working of Raani Corporation Plant in Bedford, Illinois. In a tragic accident, 80% of Centeno’s body was scalded over by a boiling solution of water and acid during an explosion.

In the trial, it was shown that Centeno was not provided with any safety gear or given proper training on how to handle his assignment.

After the accident happened, supervisors in the work place allowed the victim to scream and experience pain; he was placed under the chemical safety showers and after more than 49 minutes, he was finally transported to a nearby clinic.

The paramedics could hardly believe the horror of what they saw. Centeno’s injuries were hopeless and he died a few days after at Chicago’s Loyola Hospital.

In Florida, a temporary Puerto Rican temporary laborer identified as Edgardo Toucet had an accident with an industrial peeler machine where his penis & testicles were severed and he was nearly torn nearly in half at a carpet factory in 2010. No safety gear was given toToucet nor was he warned of the danger of working with this kind of machinery as they disabled its safety features.

Paoletti related an NPR story that happened in 2010 regarding two teeners that were killed while employed in an Illinois’ Mount Carroll grain silo. Many deaths happened yearly although these companies have been cited for violating safety rules.

The happenings that result in workers’ dying or sustaining permanent disability were not controlled by the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health making this agency appeared ineffective in its purpose.

OSHA administrator David Michaels said that they do not have arresting powers to arrest violation as they can only issue large fines. They go after companies and make repeated visitations.

Companies are given legal rights to challenge citations and the amount of their fines. Often fines are reduced to nothing, as in the case in Illinois where the initial fine of $555,000 was cut in half.

People’s awareness on the plight of migrant and temporary workers must be increased. Maybe stories told about them will do a bit of good. The exploitation of migrant & temporary workers will redown to the exploitation of other American workers. Paoletti concluded that the right to work with dignity is a universal right.

Accident victims have rights. You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, wage loss and medical bills. Contact an Injury Attorney now for a free consultation

Source: Raw Story Com