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Showing blog posts tagged with guest workers

Businesses Lobby to Kill Summer Work Program Protections

Businesses Lobby to Kill Summer Work Program Protections

The immigration reform bill being debated now in the U.S. Senate, which would provide a road map to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans, includes protections for foreign students who come to this country under a “summer-work travel” program.

But a USA Today story says au pair agencies, amusement parks, summer camp operators, hotels and others who count on this “cultural exchange” program for summer labor are lobbying to kill them.

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Immigration Reform Would Unlock Temporary Foreign Workers from ‘Debt Bondage’ to Recruiters

Temporary foreign workers, from teachers to agriculture workers to au pairs, typically pay recruiting fees to individuals or agencies retained by U.S. employers seeking foreign labor. These fees can range from $500 to well over $10,000, even for temporary jobs that pay little. That means these workers arrive in the United States deeply in debt because they must borrow money, often at high interest rates.

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Highlights from the New Immigration Reform Bill

More than 11 million aspiring citizens will have the opportunity to access a road map to citizenship under the terms of a commonsense immigration reform bill that was introduced today.

While immigration reform advocates are still examining the legislation’s 844 pages, here are highlights that address some of the united labor movement’s key immigration principles, including moving forward on creating a road map to citizenship.

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APALA’s Cendana: Temporary Workers Must Have Rights

Gregory Cendana, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), warns that the national debate around creating a commonsense immigration process “has largely ignored a disturbing trend in businesses: the modern-day indentured servitude of temporary workers.”

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Imagine 2050: Supporting Working Families with Immigration Reform

Imagine 2050 sends us the following story from its blog.

The AFL-CIO and the SEIU are standing up to Republicans and business groups for fair wages in federal immigration reform. While the group of bipartisan senators, called the “Gang of Eight,” working on the immigration bill say that the bill is 90% done, much contention remains around the "guest" worker provisions in the bill. [In fact, the so-called “guest” worker provisions in the bill are not “guest” worker provisions at all. The AFL-CIO has insisted that any new foreign workers be allowed a road map to citizenship and portability between employers so that they are not indentured to a single employer as a condition of remaining in the United States —as is the case under most existing temporary worker programs.]   

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AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce Announce Shared Immigration Reform Principles

The AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce have been working together to find common ground on comprehensive immigration reform. This morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue released this statement on the groups’ shared immigration reform principles.  

The United States will always be a nation of immigrants who have contributed greatly to the vitality, diversity and creativity of American life. Yet, like the rest of America’s immigration system, the mechanisms for evaluating our labor market needs and admitting foreign workers—as well as recruiting U.S. workers—for temporary and permanent jobs are broken or non-existent. Current immigration policies are rigid, cumbersome and inefficient. What is needed is the creation of a professional bureau in a federal executive agency to inform Congress and the public about these issues together with a system that provides for lesser-skilled visas that respond to employers’ needs while protecting the wages and working conditions of lesser-skilled workers—foreign or domestic. Current efforts at comprehensive immigration reform present a unique and historic opportunity for American workers and businesses to work together to fix this aspect of the badly broken system.

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As Immigration Reform Heats Up, Civil Rights Group Continues Campaign Against Exploitative Guest Worker Programs

Photo from an immigration rally in Southern California.

While the AFL-CIO continues to roll out its campaign for citizenship and fair, comprehensive immigration reform for aspiring Americans, lawmakers in Congress are considering a number of potential options for an immigration bill. It is no secret that the union movement and the business community have been discussing the “future flow” of lesser-skilled workers. There is consensus that, like the rest of America’s immigration system, the mechanisms for evaluating our labor market needs and admitting foreign workers (as well as recruiting U.S. workers) for temporary and permanent jobs are broken, or non-existent.

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Advocacy Group CDM Seeks to Shed Light on a 'Lawless Space' in Temporary Worker Programs

Immigration reform is rapidly becoming a legislative priority in 2013 and policymakers have been outlining the components of a comprehensive package, including the expansion of employment-related visas like the H-2 temporary work visa programs. More than 100,000 workers are recruited from abroad for employment in the United States each year under the H-2 programs, to work in such industries as agriculture, landscaping, forestry and hospitality. Today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Centro de Los Derechos del Migrante (CDM, Center for Migrant Rights) released a new report, “Recruitment Revealed: Fundamental Flaws in the H-2 Temporary Worker Program and Recommendations for Change,” which exposes substantial defects in the program’s recruitment systems and proposes policy changes that would prevent future exploitation and abuse. The report is the result of an intensive, multisource investigative study that involved more than 220 interviews with recruited workers.

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State Dept. Cracks Down on Abuse of Foreign Students by Hershey and Others

In response to protests by foreign students exploited in a factory subcontracted by the Hershey Company and advocacy by the AFL-CIO and our allies, this week the U.S. State Department announced that it will make major revisions to a guest-worker and cultural exchange visa program and barred participation by a major player in the program, the Council for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA).

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Arkansas Ag Firm Agrees to $1.5 Million in Back Wages for Guest Workers

An Arkansas agriculture company has agreed to pay $1.5 million in back wages to 1,500 guest workers in a settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The group filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the workers in 2007.

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