Exploiting Migrant Workers for Our Cheap Produce

by Project Censored
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A new study conducted by the Applied Research Center about migrant workers in the food industry provided interesting results. According to the study, people of color make a significant amount less compared to their white counterparts in all sectors of the food system such as production, processing, distribution, and service. Not only do they make less, but people of color also rarely hold management positions, where whites dominate the high-paying positions. Liu emphasizes that we must act to enforce protection for these workers who bring the food to our table.

Migrant worker come to America looking for a better life. Migrants are often forced to leave their hone from economic hardship. However what is usually not part of that image for most people is the ugly truth about how many workers of color are treated, especially in the food industry.

Juan Baten, a 22 year old man who came to America seven years ago from Guatemala in order to support his family. While working at the tortilla factory where he worked six days a week, Juan’s arm got caught in machinery and was crushed to death. Though it could happen to anyone, investigators reported that he was never trained, never given breaks, and did not have adequate healthcare. Juan’s story is tragic, yet it is nothing new.

Title: America’s Food Sweatshops and the Workers of Color Who Feed Us
Author: Yvonne Yen Liu
Source: AlterNet, February 18, 2011
Direct Link: http://www.alternet.org/food/149970/america%27s_food_sweatshops_and_the_workers_of_color_who_feed_us?page=1

Student Researcher: Elizabeth Michael
Faculty Evaluator: Professor Elenita Strobel, Sonoma State University