Edited from Exploitation of Workers in the Dominican Republic's Sugar Fields Continues by Cassandra Waters, Oct 02, 2013, published on http://www.aflcio.org
"The US Department of Labor (DOL) released a report which
detailed severe worker abuse on sugar plantations, click here.
sugar workers are Haitian or of Haitian descent and are undocumented,
leaving them particularly vulnerable to extreme exploitation. The DOL’s
report confirms ongoing, systematic abuses, including the use of child
and forced labor; hazardous working conditions; wage theft; denial
of medical, pension and other benefits if the worker is undocumented;
routine violations of minimum wage and overtime rules; and retaliatory
firings against union activists and workers who attempt to mount legal
challenges against their employer.
DOL has announced a 4-year project aimed at reducing child labor,
improving working conditions and enhancing the capacity of the Dominican
government to enforce domestic labor law. While this is a welcome
effort, the deplorable conditions sugar industry workers face cannot be
rigorously addressed without confronting the much broader problem of
migrant workers’ rights in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican policies routinely discriminate against migrant workers and
individuals of Haitian descent in ways that exacerbate workers’
vulnerability. Many sugar sector workers lack legal documentation or
passports and even birth certificates. This restricts movement, invites
employer manipulation and makes it difficult or impossible to find
alternative employment. Dominican immigration policy escalates the
problem. The 2010 Constitution denies citizenship
to children of undocumented immigrants, even those born in the country.
The Central Electoral Board, the entity charged with issuing national
identification documents, plans to review about 16,000 individuals born
in the Dominican Republic to determine whether they should be stripped
of their citizenship. The government already denies Dominicans of Haitian descent access to identity documents and seems
intent on dramatically increasing the number of stateless individuals in
the coming months. This systematic disenfranchisement forces workers
into low-paid, dangerous employment with few legal protections to guard