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I once saw two men down the street from me-- men come from Mexico or Central America, undocumented workers, who are probably living on a pittance, and sending the rest home to family to children growing up without them. (I am not assuming too much, that is the way things are done here. The men come first, often. Immigration, sanctioned or not, works like that.)

It was summer. They were barefoot, bare chested, bare handed. Dressed just fine for a day at the beach. But not for the arc-welding which they were doing on the sidewalk.

They don't know how things are supposed to be done. Somebody said to do it, and they were afraid to say no.

The people who just got here, people with brown skin, people who learn English when they get here, are not 'taking jobs from real Americans.' They are doing the scarey, dirty, dangerous jobs that nobody else will do. They are doing them with little complaint, often with a kind smile. They are vulnerable to exploitation, they often do not know their rights, and even when they do they are afraid to complain.




( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2013 08:09 am (UTC)
Yes. This. Thank you for saying it.
Oct. 27th, 2013 01:22 pm (UTC)
Do you think it would be helpful or hurtful to call and report such abuses?
Oct. 27th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
There are different more stringent OSHA type rules specific to NYC, as opposed to New York State. Husband works with them, as they apply to asbestos and chemical stuff. He is sort of a workplace safety expert.

As for reporting-- I am torn. I did not report the arcwelders. Maybe I should have. Husband has called before about dangerous scaffold work-- I am never sure if I am going to be fixing the problem, or just making some poor guy loose his job.

Sometimes too you see things that are not being done the best way but you wonder if they just don't know better. (Restaurants dumping the fryer grease into the storm-drain...)

Oct. 27th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
That IS a hard call; is a dangerous job better thn no job at all? Is the boss just trying to skimp on equipment to save money or does he not care?
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )