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Guest Workers Accuse A Louisiana Seafood Facility Of Abuse

(Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

A group of Mexican workers have walked out of their job in Breaux Bridge and have accused their employer of forcing them to work 24-hour shifts without overtime pay. The guests have filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department claiming the business abused them and took advantage of them while hand-picking crawfish at the seafood plant. Eight workers at CJ’s Seafood in Breaux Bridge, La., said they came to the U.S. earlier this year to work in the H-2B program, a guest worker visa system that lets American employers hire foreign nationals when they can’t find enough locals for the job. In addition to the claim that they had to work long hours at the plant, the guests also claim that the employer locked the doors at the plant not allowing them, the workers, to leave.

The Huffington Post has the story, and one worker named Martha Uvalle tells the news site that she was earning $2 for every pound of crawfish she peeled, or about $70 to $90 a day, and that she often worked 14 hours straight without a break. “It should have been eight hours a day, 40 hours a week,” Uvalle, a 52-year-old from Mexico, said in Spanish through a translator. “We’re not allowed to take breaks. They locked the front entrance so we couldn’t.

The Huffington Post reports that they attempted to contact the managers at CJ’s Seafood in Breaux Bridge, but their phone calls went unanswered. A side note to this story, the workers have also filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that they were threatened with beatings if they did not work faster.

For much more on this story visit The HuffingtonPost

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