The video summarizes the issue. Long story short, an American company, Signal International colludes with an Indian contracting company to lure 100s of workers from India with false promises of greencards. The workers proceed to go deep into debt with the contracting company to make this happen. Once in the States, it turns out they’re given H2B guest worker visas (yes, I treat all my guests by making them pay 1000s of bucks a month for sharing a trailer with 25 other people) that are specifically not eligible for green cards except under family quotas. This is bonded labor, American style. No arguments can be made that these workers have it better than in India and they should be grateful.
I am incredibly proud of these workers for finding the courage to strike and take their protests to DC. The Washington Post seems to have dedicated one measly article worth of coverage.
There are many reasons for this exploitation. The dehumanization of third world (including Mexican) workers is a contributing factor, so is the broken immigration system that allows excessively restrictive employment contracts. Most importantly, the U.S department of labor exists solely to make the lives of the companies it regulates easier. It has nothing to do with labor any more.
I am glad they’re protesting for their dignity and broken promises. Wonder what’s stopping the company from firing them for striking, they’re not allowed to strike! That way, they can then notify the aptly named ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) to have them deported.