Immigrant Housekeepers Fight Back
According to an Associated Press article in USA Today, more than 80 immigrant workers in New Orleans are fighting back in response to poor wages, minimal hours and unmet promises. The workers were recruited by Decatur Hotels, operators of luxury hotels including the Astor Crowne Plaza, from areas such as Peru, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic. The workers were brought in through the H-2B visa program, which certifies employers to recruit foreign workers to do jobs that no one in the U.S. can do. (Reports indicate that it was difficult to fill these positions following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.)
The workers comment, in their lawsuit against the popular hotelier, that they were promised travel expense reimbursement, high wages and steady work. Many spent $3,500 to $5,000 for travel, none of which they have received reimbursement for. Workers are also being paid $6.02 to $7.79 and hour, without the overtime pay they were counting on.
Because of the legalities surrounding the H-2B visa program, these workers are tied to Decatur for the length of the visa, which is normally good for less than one year. This means, though, that the workers may not take employment elsewhere, even if working conditions are not as expected, according to the article.
To read more about this ongoing battle, click here for the full article.
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