Posts Tagged ‘signal international’

New H-2B Rules Protect Guestworkers, U.S. Workers

New H-2B Rules Protect Guestworkers, U.S. Workers

NGA, workers praise Department of Labor move to end exploitation, create level playing field in U.S. guestworker program

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 10, 2012—New H-2B guestworker visa regulations released by the Department of Labor today will protect guestworkers from exploitation while helping secure the wages and job security of U.S. workers, the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) said.

“The Department of Labor has taken a major step in ensuring dignity at work for thousands of guestworkers—along with higher wages and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of Americans in critical industries,” said NGA Executive Director Saket Soni.

“The H2B program has been a nightmare of forced labor and debt servitude, with employers using cheap, exploitable guestworkers to undercut local workers and prevailing wages,” Soni continued. “These regulations will protect U.S. workers and wages by stopping employers from exploiting guestworkers to undercut the local labor force.”

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EEOC v. Signal International, LLC

EEOC v. Signal International, LLC, 11-cv-00179, U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Miss. (filed April 2011)

(EEOC April 20 2011 complaint)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Signal International, LLC, charging that the Gulf of Mexico marine services company violated federal law by subjecting a class of approximately 500 Indian employees to human labor trafficking and a hostile work environment.   The affected workers are H-2B guestworkers trafficked to work as welders and pipefitters in the marine fabrication industry.

The EEOC lawsuit charges that Signal subjected the Indian employees as a class to abuse based on national origin (Indian) and/or race (Asian). The agency charges Signal with disparate, discriminatory treatment concerning the workers’ terms and conditions of employment, as well as segregating them. Finally, the EEOC lawsuit alleges Signal retaliated against workers who opposed Signal’s unlawful conduct.

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EEOC Sues Major Labor Trafficker, Vindicates Guestworkers – 4/20/11

Statement by Saket Soni, Executive Director, National Guestworker Alliance. Many of the workers trafficked by Signal International are members of the National Guestworker Alliance, a project of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

April 20, 2011—Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Signal International, LLC, a major Mississippi marine fabrication company, for its discrimination, segregation, and subjugation of hundreds of Indian guestworkers after Hurricane Katrina. The EEOC’s action is a vindication of a long fight for justice that started in labor camps in 2007. We applaud the EEOC for its action, the workers for carrying on an extraordinary campaign, and hundreds of civil rights and labor leaders who stood with the workers while they were under attack.

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David v. Signal International

David v. Signal, 08-1220, U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. La. (filed March 2008); (H-2B metalworkers allege labor trafficking, discrimination, fraud, and other violations)

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Class action complaint by H-2B guestworkers employed as welders and pipefitters in the marine fabrication sector, filed March 7, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana collectively alleging violations of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO); the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1985), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and state laws governing fraud and breach of contract. Five workers also brought individual claims for damages arising from false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress stemming from Signal’s efforts to extra-legally detain and forcibly deport them after they organized and complained about this illegal activity.


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