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

(Getty Images)

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.

 

 

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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