H2 Worker Documentary. Legal Slavery.
Here is your music!
To everyone running for President:
Tonight I watched this incredible documentary by Stephanie Black.
Before they had harvesting machines every year people 10,000 Caribbean men were selectivity chosen by American sugar corporations to harvest sugar cane for six months in Florida under temporary “H2” visas.
They came from Jamaica in the middle of the night and put in barracks in Belle Glade.
“If we didn’t have the Jamaicans it wouldn’t get harvested because the local people wouldn’t do it.” One of the sugar field managers said. They were essential jailed. Brought from the barrack to the bus to the field to bus to the barrack and not being allowed to leave.
They got paid one dollar and few cents pr hour.
This was released in 1990.
Even before the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Who used to hang out in Indiantown) sent workers from their Islands in the Bahamas.
“H-2 Worker is a controversial expose of the travesty of justice that takes place around the shores of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee—a situation which, until the film’s release, has been one of America’s best-kept secrets. There, for six months a year, over 10,000 men from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands perform the brutal task of cutting sugar cane by hand-a job so dangerous and low-paying that Americans refuse to do it.
H-2 Worker is the first documentary to tell the story of these men—named for their special temporary guestwork “H-2” visas. They live and work in conditions reminiscent of the days of slavery on sugar plantations: housed in overcrowded barracks, poorly fed, denied adequate treatment for their frequent on-the-job injuries, paid less than minimum wage, and deported if they do not do exactly as they are told.
The sugar plantations who employ the H-2 workers sustain this exploitation—and their own profits—with the help of the U.S. government, which authorizes the importation of Third World workers while it blocks the importation of cheaper Third World sugar through a system of quotas and price supports, citing “national security” as the reason for its costly subsidizing of a domestic sugar industry. The scandal of the H-2 program has existed for over 45 years. It began in 1942, when the U.S. Sugar Cane Corporation was indicted for conspiracy to enslave black American workers. In 1943 the first West Indian cane cutters were brought in. This scandal has largely been kept out of the public eye, and the sugar companies and their government supporters have escaped accountability. On the contrary, a new immigration law has paved the way for a rapid expansion of the H-2 program.
Directed by: Stephanie Black
Produced by: Stephanie Black
Running Time: 70 min
For more information about this film and other films in the Collective Eyes Catalog, please visit: collectiveeye.org/products/h2-worker
Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary – Sundance Film Festival (1990)
Best Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival (1990)
“‘H-2 Worker’ is that rare hybrid that succeeds as both film and advocacy. The documentary’s look and form is smooth and sophisticated … [and] it solidly frames issues about the economy, employment and the treatment of workers who seem just steps away from slavery.” —The New York Times
With admirable fluency, Black combines straightforward information and analysis with more evocative glimpses of the workers’ lives …. Black and her collaborators have an unsentimental conviction that these workers are fully human, that they experience not just anger and suffering but also love and pleasure – and even hope.”—The Nation”
Today when you go to Belle Glade you drive past the same buildings that were in this film.
“H-2 Worker is a 1990 documentary film about the exploitation of Jamaican guest workers in Florida‘s sugar cane industry. It was directed by Stephanie Black, and won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for documentaries in the 1990 festival. It was shot in Belle Glade, Clewiston, and Okeelanta, Florida as well as Jamaica and includes cane fields and worker camps (Ritta Village, Prewitt Village) owned by US Sugar Corporation and the Okeelanta Corporation.
The cane harvesters were brought in to perform the autumn harvest of sugar cane under the H-2A Visa program. The Jamaicans replaced earlier generations of Bahamian seasonal workers who in turn replaced migrant labor recruited from the Cotton Belt (region) in the first half of the 20th century. A documentary short that accompanies the DVD version of the film states that human labor was abandoned for mechanical harvesters in 1992.
The film features interviews with a United States Department of Labor official, a Florida Sugar Cane League official, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, local merchants, and a dozen or so field workers. It also includes footage of César Chávez, US Representative Thomas Downey, and US Senator Bill Bradley.”
I think it’s important for “us” ( and you know who I’m referring to) to watch this so we never get soft against the people who created these human rights abuses for corporate profit. Not only do they treat people like slaves they collect corporate welfare.
( Are we calling them corporate entitlements yet?)
It’s also important for those of you that think all these people are coming and taking your jobs away. The reason they have, yes I said have this program is to to the work no one else would do. Interesting enough when I worked in Boca in the hospital we got nurses from England and from the Philippines and there were plenty of nurses around to do the job. It’s been here since the 40’s. So even at your work you may have H2 workers or even the hospital you go to when your ill.
They may even be hiding your bed.
H-2A Temporary Agricultural WorkersThe H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. A U.S. employer,a U.S. agent as described in the regulations,or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.
Who May Qualify for H-2A Classification?
To qualify for H-2A nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must:
- Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
- Demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Generally, submit with the H-2A petition, a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. (A limited exception to this requirement exists in certain “emergent circumstances.” See e.g., 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(x) for specific details.)
- Step 1: Petitioner submits temporary labor certification application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Prior to requesting H-2A classification from USCIS, the petitioner must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification for H-2A workers with DOL. For further information regarding the temporary labor certification requirements and process, see the Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor page.
- Step 2: Petitioner submits Form I-129 to USCIS. After receiving a temporary labor certification for H-2A employment from DOL, the employer should file Form I-129 with USCIS. With limited exceptions, the original temporary labor certification must be submitted as initial evidence with Form I-129. (See the instructions to Form I-129 for additional filing requirements.)
- Step 3: Prospective workers outside the United States apply for visa and/or admission. After USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective H-2A workers who are outside the United States must:
- Apply for an H-2A visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or
- Directly seek admission to the United States in H-2A classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry, if a worker does not require a visa.
You can order it thru amazon.
I got mine from Netflix.
Here is another review.
“H-2 Worker is the first documentary to tell the story of these men – named for their special temporary guestwork “H-2” visas. They live and work in conditions reminiscent of the days of slavery on sugar plantations: housed in overcrowded barracks, poorly fed, denied adequate treatment for their frequent on-the-job injuries, paid less than minimum wage, and deported if they do not do exactly as they are told.
The sugar plantations who employ the H-2 workers sustain this exploitation – and their own profits – with the help of the U.S. government, which authorizes the importation of Third World workers while it blocks the importation of cheaper Third World sugar through a system of quotas and price supports, citing “national security” as the reason for its costly subsidizing of a domestic sugar industry.
The scandal of the H-2 program has existed for over 45 years. It began in 1942, when the U.S. Sugar Cane Corporation was indicted for conspiracy to enslave black American workers. In 1943 the first West Indian cane cutters were brought in. This scandal has largely been kept out of the public eye, and the sugar companies and their government supporters have escaped accountability. On the contrary, a new immigration law has paved the way for a rapid expansion of the H-2 program to other agricultural industries.
H-2 Worker was shot clandestinely in the cane fields and workers’ barracks around Belle Glade, Florida. It contains footage shot in places where no media has been successful in filming before, and where the filmmakers were denied permission to enter by the sugar corporations and the local police.
H-2 Worker focuses on the lives of the workers themselves – travelling with them to the fields, where they endure long hours of monotonous labor; to their isolated barracks; to the town where they shop for American goods to bring home to their families. Following them through one six-month season, it tell their stories: Like migrant workers worldwide, these men are driven by soaring unemployment in their home countries and promises of high wages abroad. Dreaming of American opportunities to build better lives for their families, they arrive in the U.S. with high hopes – only to confront the harsh realities of the Florida cane fields.
Providing an in-depth analysis, H-2 Worker includes voices from all sides of the issue: representatives of the sugar companies and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as U.S.l congressmen and Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley. An historical analysis combine archival footage with the testimony of 80-year-old Samuel Manston, who escaped the cane fields at the time of the peonage indictments in 1942.
But the voices of the workers themselves are foremost: They are heard through extensive interviews, and through their recordings of actual letters to and from their families in Jamaica. These voices tell an eloquent story which rings with painful truth, and will not easily be forgotten. H-2 Worker is both a compelling expose of institutionalized injustice, and a moving record of human endurance.
H-2 Worker, a 70-minute, 16 mm, color documentary made over the course of 3 1/2 years, combines the talents of director/producer Stephanie Black, award-winning editor John Mullen and cinematographer Maryse Alberti. It is a film with powerful impact and resonance, certain to be both compelling and controversial.
“‘H-2 Worker’ is that rare hybrid that succeeds as both film and advocacy. The documentary’s look and form is smooth and sophisticated … [and] it solidly frames issues about the economy, employment, and the treatment of workers who seem just steps away from slavery.” -The New York Times
“‘H-2 Worker’ is a revealing look at these men and the treatment they receive on our shores … [Stephanie Black] manages to capture the scope as well as the intensity of the problem. -New York Newsday
“With admirable fluency, Black combines straightforward information and analysis with more evocative glimpses of the workers’ lives …. Black and her collaborators have an unsentimental conviction that these workers are fully human, that they experience not just anger and suffering but also love and pleasure – and even hope.” -The Nation”
According to the update 1992, a class action suit found five sugar cane companies guilty of cheating more than 10,000 cane cutters of their contractually guaranteed minimum wage during the two seasons documented in the film.
51,000.000 in back pay was awarded.
Then the decision was revered by the Florida Appellate court finding that the H-2 contract was “ambiguous.”
Sugar cane is being harvested mechanically however the number of H-2 workers has substantially increased.
North Carolina: 10,000 workers
Colorado 2,000 workers
Maryland 9,622 (crab houses, fire work, hotel work)
Most of the workers come from Mexico.
In March 2008, over 100 guest workers from India, walked off their H-2B jobs at Signal, an oil rig construction company in Louisiana, protesting the company’s unacceptable living and working conditions.
These are not illegals. These are people that come here legally.
In the country where the people are coming from there are labor brokers that sell assess to the people from all these countries. In India that access was sold for 20,000 dollars.
People come here and they are not paid what they are told plus they had to pay the recruiters.
Over 2,100 H-2 shepherds from Peru, Chile, Mexico and Nepal work for American Ranchers. They are expected to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a minim monthly wage of less that 1,000.
If you think it’s just farm workers you’re wrong.
“That visa is also not valid for nurses and is grounds to get one deported from the US. We see it being advertised in the Philippines but it makes one subject to immigration fraud. It is for untrained workers for a very specific length of time, and nurses do not meet those requirements from the start. We see this being used for the LPN, and there are no legal visas for them to enter the US and work here.
Please forward a copy of any of the garbage that you see offering this, and that is exactly what it is, to the US Embassy there in Manila. You would be sold as a slave to the highest bidder
They would also have you giving false information to the US Embassy officials and this is grounds for deportation for up to ten years after a stay in immigration detention before you are deported. You would be placed in a nursing home to work and they are undergoing frequent raids exactly for this.
Save yourself from having nightmares about being picked up by ICE.”
Businesses continue to lobby for an expanded guest worker program with reduced wages and less government oversight. The violations are rampart.
No one talks about this. They talk about fences. The very people who push the hatred of the illegal people that come here use the H-2 workers as slave labor.
We’re being duped. Our attention is being diverted.
We still have slaves in America. We call them H-2 workers.