Exploiting immigrant workers

Packinghouse communities

The two men had come with other Latinos from Texas to work in a Missouri meat-packing plant. They had once worked the fields, and had experienced all kinds of employers and working conditions. But their Missouri experience left them in disbelief.

They spoke of how the company had hired and trained them (unpaid) for several days, then had no job openings for weeks. They had to eat lunch in the company cafeteria, they were told, to maintain a sterile plant environment--and their wages were docked each day for the lunch. The company deducted costs for company-provided travel between the workers' residences and the plant, 45 miles distance. A local preacher/landlord housed workers for $50 a week per person in his numerous properties, with extra charges for minor maintenance. With four men to a house, he collected $800 monthly for a residence that had a fair market rental value of $300.


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