Statement from Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network:
June 20, 2012 (New York, NY) on Wednesday, members of my organization National Action Network and I met with eight Mexican guestworkers who went on strike on June 4th in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana to expose forced labor at a crawfish plant called CJ’s Seafood.
The workers described shocking conditions. According to strike leader Ana Rosa Diaz supervisors at CJ’s forced them to work up to 24-hour shifts with no overtime pay, locked them in the plant, and threatened to beat them. Ana recounted that CJ’s owners threatened to hurt their families in Mexico if workers organized.
Ana and her co-workers joined the National Guest worker Alliance. They went on strike, demanding CJ’s Seafood end forced labor.
The National Action Network supports fair labor standards and supports these workers’ demand that the situation at CJ’s Seafood be fully investigated and that the company comply with all laws applicable to the guest worker program.
This situation highlights the need for the protection of fundamental civil and labor rights for immigrant workers and the moral need for reform of the guestworker program. This includes several proposed improvements regarding the H2B visa regulations to protect United States workers. We will monitor this situation very closely and believe as always that no persons should be denied equal protection of the law.