Ana Rosa Diaz and her coworkers at C.J.'s Seafood, a supplier for Walmart, say that they experienced forced labor while working at the company's facility in Louisiana, including long hours, wage theft, unsafe conditions and other abuses.
Ana joined her coworkers and the National Guestworker Alliance to launch a petition to Walmart signed by nearly 150,000 people. As a result of the campaign, Walmart suspend its contract with the supplier. The Department of Labor published an investigation that cited the Walmart supplier for serious and willful violations of federal labor law and demanded over $248,000 in back wages, fines, and penalties. The NGA believes that millions of people have learned about Ana's story and campaign against Walmart through coverage in the New York Times editorial page, The Guardian, on National Public Radio, and many other places.
Ana Rosa Diaz, the NGA guestworker member who started the petition, said: "When I decided to go on strike to stop C.J.'s from holding us in forced labor, I never imagined that almost 150,000 Americans would join our cause. Now I know that with your support, we can make a change at Walmart that will improve the lives of thousands and thousands of workers."
To keep up to date about the work of the NGA and its members like Ana, check out http://guestworkeralliance.org
My name is Ana Rosa Diaz. I'm 40 years old and I have four children. I came to the United States on an H-2B guestworker visa from my home in Tamaulipas, Mexico. I work in a small town in Louisiana with other guestworkers, peeling crawfish for a company called C.J.’s Seafood, which sells 85% of its products to Walmart.
Our boss forces us to work up to 24 hours at a time with no overtime pay. No matter how fast we work, they scream and curse at us to make us work faster. Our supervisor threatens to beat us with a shovel to stop us from taking breaks.
We live in trailers across from the boss's house, and we’re under surveillance all the time. The supervisors come into our trailers without warning, and they threaten to fire us if we leave after 9 p.m.
The supervisor also locked us in the plant so we couldn’t take breaks. One worker called 911. After that the boss rounded us up at 2:30 a.m., closed the door to keep the American employees out, and threatened our families.
He said, “As a friend I can be very good, but you don’t want to know me as an enemy. I have contacts with good people and bad people, and I know where all your families live. I can find you no matter where you hide.” We were terrified.
We want to work. We need to support our families. But we also want to be treated like human beings.
We joined the National Guestworker Alliance and decided to go on strike. The boss refused to take back his threats against our families, so we filed complaints with the Department of Labor. And now we’re taking our demands to Walmart.
Walmart says it doesn't allow forced labor by any of its suppliers. But Walmart is profiting from the forced labor we lived through right here in Louisiana. And now they're trying to cover up what happened to us -- while three federal investigations are going on -- and they're refusing to speak with us.
Walmart needs to meet with us immediately, and to show its suppliers that it won't tolerate forced labor. We’re demanding that Walmart:
1. Cancel its contract with C.J.’s Seafood to show that it won't profit from forced labor in Louisiana.
2. Sit down with us, the striking workers, immediately as a first step toward a real investigation -- rather than a cover-up.
3. Sign the NGA's Guestworker Dignity Standards to prevent forced labor and guarantee civil and labor rights for guestworkers across the Walmart supply chain.
Please sign and stand with us!