When they are brought here under false pretenses and promises..
I attended a rally/march for local justice for undocumented workers in the nearby small Catskills town of LIberty NY… Over 200 workers were let go with no warning, (some having been told the would be on short holiday and back to work). Some of the workers with they families dependent upon them and no rights as such, have been with this company, Ideal Snacks of LIberty NY, for up to ten years. Local activist and other friends invited me and of course I support some kind of justice for them. Some of what they are demanding is full back pay including unpaid vacation time, and some kind of severance agreements. Most of these workders (mostly Mexican and /or South American, had been led to believe that they would be put on a track to Green card , legal worker status (I-9)… and have had nothing of the sort.
I stood and listened to their stories in front of Ideal Snack foods factory in town, of physical, verbal abuse and constant sexual abuse of the women.. This had been long time and ongoing according to their stories.. This is essence, is the American ‘Latin’ immigrant experience. Its virtual modern ‘slavery’ (something we talk about a lot in Asia and some other countries, but have long time ignored in our own. This is what we need first, justice for these workers and those like them, and then, some passage of an Immigration bill that is fair to all, ensuring some ‘path to citizenship’ for all, and prosecution of companies keeping workers in such situations..
There are many difficulties and tangled situations to this ,but from things i heard from some sources, they (the workers) were possibly looking towards unionization, or other things not liked by the company.
Ideal Snacks has said ,denying the abuse claims, ‘”Outrageous claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment are baseless,” said the statement on behalf of Ideal by Middletown lawyer Ronald Kossar. Ideal also threatened “swift legal action” for what it called “slanderous statements meant to harm our reputation or bully our organization into unionization.”
The IDA, INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, supposedly supporting Ideal and other missions in the county is said to have misled the public in much of what they do and say..
The March ended peacefully, from outside La Polt Park, in Liberty to in front of the barracades at Ideal Foods last evening well after 5:30 pm. Local Sheriff”s office and Liberty Police were maintaining peace… One annoying fact was the faces of obvious Company employees or security looking threateningly on….During the first speakers, several ‘company’ cars next to the area where they were speaking from, had their emergency alerts go off, obviously in an effort to drown out the speakers… Very bad manners. Present were County legislator Cora Edwards, Former UFCW representative Sandra Cuellar Oxford and others representing various ministries and Immigrant rights groups.