Protesting farmworkers in Baja California Protesting farmworkers in Baja California. daniel león informa

Migrant farmworkers face trials in U.S., too

Chiapas laborer among five women awarded $17 million

Migrant farm workers within Mexico have been protesting low rates of pay, but some of those who have crossed the border to work in the United States have faced other challenges.

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A migrant worker from Chiapas was one of five women awarded a total of US $17 million after their employers allegedly raped and sexually harassed them at a produce packing plant in Florida, reports the Huffington Post.

Sandra López charged that the plant’s owner, Omar Moreno, dragged her into his trailer one day and raped her. Two others said either Moreno or his brother Oscar raped them and two more charged the brothers with attempted rape and making sexual comments.

A suit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August last year against Moreno Farms. The commission announced yesterday that a federal jury had awarded the plaintiffs $2.425 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

“The jury’s verdict today should serve as a clear message to the agricultural industry that the law will not tolerate subjecting female farm workers to sexual harassment and that there are severe consequences when a sex-based hostile work environment is permitted to exist,” said the commission’s Robert E. Weisberg.

The Moreno Farms plant has since been closed and the brothers have not responded to a legal summons, the Miami Times reported.

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Some Mexican farmworkers travel to the U.S. and Canada for work, while others go to northern states such as Baja California to work on large export-based farms. Protests began last March over working conditions and wages on farms in the San Quintín Valley.

Those issues have not yet been resolved.

Many migrant workers are among the indigenous people in Mexico and come from southern states such as Oaxaca.

Source: Huffington Post (en)

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  • Henry Wilson

    The difference of course is that instead of working for $1 USD a day in Mexico they are working for $15 USD per day and more.They could always return I guess, huh? Why are you laughing?

  • Happygirl

    The weather is starting to get cold now in Ontario Canada as summer gives way to fall and the harvest is in full swing. We see the farm workers coming into town on the weekend to spend a day at the beach…here, they come mostly from Mexico and Jamaica. Some line up at the one pay phone left (any probably the last one in existence in Ontario) to make their weekly calls back home. Soon like us Snowbirds they will be leaving Canada behind…returning to the sun and their families. I am happy to know that our government regulates their pay rate, inspects their housing, ensures they have health and worker’s insurance and that the Mexican consulate in Leamington is there to assist them. To the farm workers a big thank you and we’ll see you again in the spring.

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