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

Americans = Anglos: The Depth of Perception

December 11, 2008 by Rev. David L. Ostendorf · 1 Comment
Filed under: American Identity 

Months had passed since I had been in town to meet with workers over steaming plates of good food at the local restaurant run by a family from Mexico. It was good to see everyone again and to get caught up. Gentle handshakes were exchanged with those long-pained from packinghouse jobs, and conversation took off quickly. My colleague who organizes in the area guided our conversation and translated for us as we talked about a wide range of issues and concerns. Read more