What is the NGA?
Hundreds of thousands of workers enter the United States every year on temporary visas through the U.S. guestworker program. They work in critical industries, from landscaping to construction to education, in deeply exploitative conditions that frequently rise to the level of forced labor and involuntary servitude.
The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) is a membership organization of guestworkers. Our members organize in labor camps across the United States to win collective dignity at work. We are building national power to win fairness in the terms of migration. We also partner with local workers—employed and unemployed—to strengthen U.S. social movements for racial and economic justice.
The NGA was formed in 2006 as the Alliance of Guestworkers after Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of guestworkers were brought to the U.S. and subjected to forced labor. Guestworkers in labor camps across the Gulf Coast came together to fight collectively for their dignity.
Today NGA’s rapidly expanding membership is engaging in workplace fights across many industries to win dignified conditions, just migration policy, and new rights and protections for all workers.
NGA is a project of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.
Recent NGA accomplishments
- In March 2013, the NGA exposed severe exploitation of J-1 student guestworkers at McDonald’s stores in Central PA.
- In November 2012, the NGA won new worker protections from the Department of Labor for more than 300 warehouses operated by the $4.1 billion Exel Corporation, including Wal-Mart and Hershey’s warehouses.
- In July 2012, the NGA exposed forced labor on the Wal-Mart supply chain at C.J.’s Seafood, compelling Wal-Mart to admit to labor abuses in the pages of the New York Times.
- In May 2012, in direct response to NGA’s Justice@Hershey’s campaign, the U.S. State Department overhauled the J-1 student guestworker program to respond to widespread employer abuse.
- In March 2011, NGA won a vindication of five years of organizing, advocacy, and litigation when the Department of Labor proposed new worker protections in the H-2B visa program.
- In August 2010, NGA members escaped from labor camps in Tennessee to blow the whistle on a major state contractor, who was trafficking guestworkers with public money, including stimulus dollars, instead of hiring local workers.
- In February 2010, NGA exposed collusion between immigration authorities and guestworker employer Signal International in a major case of labor trafficking across Mississippi and Texas. NGA revealed that immigration officials advised the company’s private deportations and collaborated with the company to retaliate against workers who organized.
- NGA and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice have pioneered successful federal and state legal strategies using labor, civil rights, and immigration law to defend guestworkers’ right to organize.