Tuesday, May 10, 2011



All across the "developed" world temporary workers, often referred to as "guestworkers" are employed usually at much lower wages and longer hours than workers in the country they are "imported to". Here's an item from the Jobs With Justice group asking all US citizens to support legislation that would extend equal labour rights to 'guestworkers' in that country.

Support Collective Bargaining Rights for ALL workers‏

Every year, thousands of workers come to the United States via the H-2B guestworker visa program. Under this program, a workers' visa is tied to his or her employer, giving their bosses a great deal of control over their lives. All too often, workers in the US on the H-2B visa find themselves in unfair, unsafe, or even illegal work situations, but because their immigration status is tied to their employer, it is very difficult to organize for better working conditions. You may remember the story of Hilario Jimenez, a guestworker who escaped company housing to expose his employers for using taxpayer money to exploit migrant workers while excluding local workers from jobs.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. On March 17, 2011, the National Guestworker Alliance won a major victory and a vindication of five years of organizing, advocacy, and litigation as the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations of the H-2B non-agricultural visa program. The proposed regulations would ensure that workers in the U.S. through this program are not trapped in debt to recruiters and do not face retaliation for organizing to become members of workers’ centers or unions. The new regulations would also ensure that employers keep their promises to workers about the type of work, working conditions, and hours they will have, and that if they break the rules they are punished.

Big businesses are gearing up to fight these new rules that would protect workers’ rights.

Support the rights of ALL workers to organize! The DOL is accepting comments on the new regulations until May 17th.


Please personalize the sample comments below.

I believe in dignified work, just migration, and equality for all workers. [ Include your personal experience/ opinion on why these rights are important for guestworkers and U.S. workers].

The current H-2B program does not protect workers. Under the current rules, debt, retaliation, and a lack of enforcement block workers from organizing and defending their rights. Any time a worker’s visa is tied to his employer, the employer has a lot of control.

I support DOL’s new proposed rules for the H-2B program because I believe:

1) Workers should not be trapped in Debt. Employers should pay the costs of a workers’ travel, visa, and recruitment for an H-2B job. U.S. employers should be responsible for actions by their agents and recruiters.

2) Employers should keep with their promises about the job. Employers should have to comply with their promises about the type of work, working conditions, and hours. Job contractors should not be allowed to bring in H-2B workers. Workers should receive copies of the paperwork filed with the government describing their job so they can defend their rights.

3) Workers should not face retaliation for organizing. Employers should not retaliate against workers who organize and become members of Workers’ Centers or unions. DOL should protect a worker’s right to continue working and not face deportation if the employer retaliates against him.

4) Employers who break the rules should be punished. They should have to pay the workers what they are owed. If they break the rules, they should not be able to bring in more H-2B workers. Workers should be able to participate in the administrative processes to make sure this happens. Workers are experts on their workplace and have the information to help make sure employers cannot continue to break the rules and exploit future workers.

I support the more detailed comments of the National Guestworker Alliance. They are a membership organization of guestworkers, and they know the solutions to make this program more fair for the workers and their families.

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