As Hurricane Sandy continues on its path and our friends and loved ones on the East Coast begin to assess the damage to their homes, businesses, and communities, we in the Gulf Coast offer our solidarity and prayers.
If our experience as a Worker Center along the Gulf Coast can offer any wisdom and warning from witnessing and fighting the exploitative conditions of low-wage workers carrying out clean-up work after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, it is that workers’ rights advocates are needed urgently. Such natural disasters simply expose the unnatural disasterous companies that disregard legally required safety and health protections, wage and hour laws, and disregard the dignity of their employees carrying out this important work. Perhaps more importantly, natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy reveal a system that does little to hold such unsrupulous companies accountable.
So today, in support of the workers who will rebuild communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, and the responsible businesses in the clean-up industry, we share our 2008 report summarizing our findings called “Abuse After the Storm”. Both English and Spanish versions can be found below.