Guardian: 61% of Undocumented Hurricane Clean Up Workers Lack Proper Respiratory Equipment

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Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk filed a startling dispatch for the Guardian looking at the conditions that will likely claim the lives of many undocumented hurricane clean-up workers:

The recent survey of 361 Latino day laborers conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago, done in conjunction with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and Fe y Justicia Worker Center and funded by the Ford Foundation, paints a startling picture of the inequities plaguing Houston’s clean up.

According to the report, entitled “After the Storm: Houston’s Day Labor Markets in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey”, 26% of those surveyed said that they have experienced wage theft in doing hurricane recovery work. Some 64% of day laborers say that they have not sought government assistance in storm recovery out of fear of being deported. More shockingly, 85% of day laborers say that they have not received any health and safety training prior to entering a job site. And 61% of day laborer say they have no respiratory equipment to prevent themselves from breathing in dangerous molds and chemicals.

Last month, the Guardian reported that workplace safety groups have criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) for failing to coordinate their health and safety training as the Obama administration did.

Unsafe conditions have already taken the life of one worker, 31-year-old Josue Zurita, an immigrant from Mexico. Zurita, a carpenter, had worked on several flood-damaged homes that had become infected with the flesh-eating bacteria necrotizing fasciitis.

 

Go to the Guardian to read the full story.

 

 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a member of the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild and is the senior labor reporter at Payday Report. He previously served as senior labor reporter at POLITICO and has written for the New York Times. He also writes for The Guardian.

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