Immigrant and Refugee Workers Share Health Concerns

July 31, 2009 by Guest Blogger · Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Health, Immigration 

by Axel Fuentes
En español y ingles

A momentous event occurred this past weekend. Sixteen Latino immigrants and Somali refugees, all workers coming from different communities around the nation, got together to discuss common issues that are affecting and limiting access to health care in their communities, including the meat processing plants where they work.

At this meeting both groups agreed that there were common issues affecting their health. Issues such as a lack of interpreters at health care facilities, the high speeds of work lines, and supervisors who ignored their needs by denying bathroom breaks and penalizing workers who need time off to attend to medical appointments. Arrogant and degrading treatment from some of the supervisors was a common experience, as well as a lack of proper training to operate equipment.

These and other common issues are being addressed by health action councils made up of the workers themselves. Their goals are to reduce worker heath deterioration, prevent work-related accidents and improve access to health care. Read more