Horrifying Conditions For Farmer Workers Exposed | msnbc

Horrifying Conditions For Farmer Workers Exposed | msnbc


>>>FOR EVERY TEN GREEN HOUSE
TOMATOES THAT COME INTO THE U.S. TOMATOES THAT COME INTO THE U.S.
COMES FROM MEXICO. COMES FROM MEXICO.
HOW EXACTLY DO THOSE FRESH HOW EXACTLY DO THOSE FRESH
TOMATOES OR EGGPLANTS OR PEPPERS TOMATOES OR EGGPLANTS OR PEPPERS
GO FROM THE FIELDS OF MEXICO TO GO FROM THE FIELDS OF MEXICO TO
AMERICAN PRODUCE AISLES AND AMERICAN PRODUCE AISLES AND
ULTIMATELY YOUR PLATE? ULTIMATELY YOUR PLATE?
A NEW LOS ANGELES TIMES A NEW LOS ANGELES TIMES
INVESTIGATIVE SERIES SHEDS SOME INVESTIGATIVE SERIES SHEDS SOME
LIGHT ON THE PROCESS. LIGHT ON THE PROCESS.
DECEMBER 7 THE TIMES RELEASED DECEMBER 7 THE TIMES RELEASED
THE FIRST OF FOUR STORIES, THE THE FIRST OF FOUR STORIES, THE
DETAILED WAR COMMISSIONS OF DETAILED WAR COMMISSIONS OF
HUNDREDS OF FARM RALABORERS WHO HUNDREDS OF FARM RALABORERS WHO
HARVEST THE FOOD THAT WE HARVEST THE FOOD THAT WE
CONSUME. CONSUME.
DON AND RICHARD SPENT NINE DON AND RICHARD SPENT NINE
MONTHS —THEY FOUND THAT MONTHS —THEY FOUND THAT
DESPITE LABOR LAWS IN MEXICO, DESPITE LABOR LAWS IN MEXICO,
CAMP BOSSES AT MANY OF THE LABOR CAMP BOSSES AT MANY OF THE LABOR
CAMPS IN QUESTION WITH HELD PAY CAMPS IN QUESTION WITH HELD PAY
FROM WORKERS UNTIL THEIR FROM WORKERS UNTIL THEIR
CONTRACTS, TYPICALLY TREE MONTHS CONTRACTS, TYPICALLY TREE MONTHS
ENDED. ENDED.
DURING THOSE THREE MONTHS, THE DURING THOSE THREE MONTHS, THE
WORKERS SOME YOUNGER THAN 14 WORKERS SOME YOUNGER THAN 14
YEARS OLD RESIDE IN WINDOWLESS YEARS OLD RESIDE IN WINDOWLESS
ROOMS WITH PEST INFESTATIONS. ROOMS WITH PEST INFESTATIONS.
NO BEDS AND SOMETIMES NO RUNNING NO BEDS AND SOMETIMES NO RUNNING
WATER. WATER.
MOROS I-REPORTS THAT IN SOME MOROS I-REPORTS THAT IN SOME
CAMPS, WORKERS ARE NOT PERMITTED CAMPS, WORKERS ARE NOT PERMITTED
TO LEAVE BEFORE THEIR CONTRACTS TO LEAVE BEFORE THEIR CONTRACTS
EXPIRE. EXPIRE.
DESPITE THE RULES AND STANDARDS, DESPITE THE RULES AND STANDARDS,
AMERICAN GROCERY CHAINS HAVE AMERICAN GROCERY CHAINS HAVE
ESTABLISHED FOR LABOR PRACTICES, ESTABLISHED FOR LABOR PRACTICES,
SOME COUNTRIES HAVE PURCHASED SOME COUNTRIES HAVE PURCHASED
PRODUCE FROM MEXICAN SUPPLIERS PRODUCE FROM MEXICAN SUPPLIERS
THAT GET THEIR PRODUCTS FROM THAT GET THEIR PRODUCTS FROM
THESE FARMS. THESE FARMS.
THESE CONDITIONS HAVE LED SOME THESE CONDITIONS HAVE LED SOME
FARM WORKERS IN THE REGION TO FARM WORKERS IN THE REGION TO
ASK THIS KEY QUESTION. ASK THIS KEY QUESTION.
JOINING ME NOW FROM SAN DIEGO IS JOINING ME NOW FROM SAN DIEGO IS
LOS ANGELES TIMES REPORT RICHARD LOS ANGELES TIMES REPORT RICHARD
MORSSI. MORSSI.
RICHARD, TELL ME WHAT WE NEED TO RICHARD, TELL ME WHAT WE NEED TO
KNOW ABOUT THE LABOR CONDITIONS KNOW ABOUT THE LABOR CONDITIONS
THAT PRODUCE OUR PRODUCE? THAT PRODUCE OUR PRODUCE?
>>WELL, FIRST THING THAT WE >>WELL, FIRST THING THAT WE
HAVE TO EMPHASIZE IS THAT MOST HAVE TO EMPHASIZE IS THAT MOST
AMERICANS DON’T REALIZE HOW MUCH AMERICANS DON’T REALIZE HOW MUCH
OF OUR PRODUCE COMES FROM OF OUR PRODUCE COMES FROM
MEXICO. MEXICO.
MORE THAN 50% OF THE PRODUCE MORE THAN 50% OF THE PRODUCE
THAT WE EAT NOW COMES FROM THAT WE EAT NOW COMES FROM
MEXICO. MEXICO.
AND THEY’RE PRODUCED AT THESE AND THEY’RE PRODUCED AT THESE
MEGAFARMS THAT PRODUCE TENS OF MEGAFARMS THAT PRODUCE TENS OF
MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF TOM MATAT. MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF TOM MATAT.
SO THEY PICK THESE POOREST SO THEY PICK THESE POOREST
PEOPLE ON THE CONTINENT FROM PEOPLE ON THE CONTINENT FROM
THESE POOR MOUNTAIN VILLAGES AND THESE POOR MOUNTAIN VILLAGES AND
MOVE THEM HUNDREDS OF MILES AND MOVE THEM HUNDREDS OF MILES AND
HOUSE THEM IN THESE LABOR CAMPS HOUSE THEM IN THESE LABOR CAMPS
IN THE MIDDLE OF THESE BIG IN THE MIDDLE OF THESE BIG
FARMS. FARMS.
THERE’S THOUSANDS OF FOLKS. THERE’S THOUSANDS OF FOLKS.
THEY’RE SEASONAL WORKERS AND THEY’RE SEASONAL WORKERS AND
THEY SPEND MUCH OF THEIR TIME THEY SPEND MUCH OF THEIR TIME
PICKING AND AT NIGHT THEY GOO PICKING AND AT NIGHT THEY GOO
BACK TO THESE SQUALID LABOR BACK TO THESE SQUALID LABOR
CAMPS WHERE THEY SPEND MUCH OF CAMPS WHERE THEY SPEND MUCH OF
THEIR TIME. THEIR TIME.
>>WE SAW AN IMAGE EARLIER OF A >>WE SAW AN IMAGE EARLIER OF A
BABY LYING A CRATE. BABY LYING A CRATE.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH
THIS STORY? THIS STORY?
>>THE FOLKS WHO WERE IN THAT >>THE FOLKS WHO WERE IN THAT
PICTURE WERE PICKING FOR A CHILE PICTURE WERE PICKING FOR A CHILE
PEPPER FARM DOWN IN SOUTH. PEPPER FARM DOWN IN SOUTH.
THE HOUSING THERE IS REALLY, THE HOUSING THERE IS REALLY,
REALLY POOR QUALITY. REALLY POOR QUALITY.
AND THAT WASN’T EXACTLY A LABOR AND THAT WASN’T EXACTLY A LABOR
PLANT THERE, THAT WAS A CHILE PLANT THERE, THAT WAS A CHILE
PEPPER PLANTING. PEPPER PLANTING.
BUT THESE FOLKS WERE LIVING IN BUT THESE FOLKS WERE LIVING IN
VERY TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES WITH VERY TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES WITH
NOT MUCH AND NOT MUCH ATTENTION NOT MUCH AND NOT MUCH ATTENTION
GIVEN TO THEM. GIVEN TO THEM.
>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS >>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS
MOST STUNNING TO ME AS I WAS MOST STUNNING TO ME AS I WAS
READING THESE PIECES IS THAT READING THESE PIECES IS THAT
SOME OF THE LABORERS WHO ARE SOME OF THE LABORERS WHO ARE
PICKING, PARTICULARLY THE CHILE PICKING, PARTICULARLY THE CHILE
PEPPERS ARE ADOLESCENT KIDS, 10, PEPPERS ARE ADOLESCENT KIDS, 10,
11, 12 YEARS OLD. 11, 12 YEARS OLD.
>>YEAH, I FOUND THAT LARGELY IN>>YEAH, I FOUND THAT LARGELY IN
THE CHILE PEPPER A HARVEST AND THE CHILE PEPPER A HARVEST AND
THERE’S A HUGE DEMAND HERE IN THERE’S A HUGE DEMAND HERE IN
THE UNITED STATES FOR CHILE THE UNITED STATES FOR CHILE
PEPPERS, IT’S A SMALL PLANT PEPPERS, IT’S A SMALL PLANT
ABOUT THREE FEET HIGH AND ABOUT ABOUT THREE FEET HIGH AND ABOUT
THREE-INCH LONG CHILE PEPPERS, THREE-INCH LONG CHILE PEPPERS,
SO IT’S PERFECT FOR CULTIVATION SO IT’S PERFECT FOR CULTIVATION
FOR CHILDREN. FOR CHILDREN.
SO IF YOU GO TO CHILE PEPPER SO IF YOU GO TO CHILE PEPPER
PLANTS, YOU SEE A LOT OF PLANTS, YOU SEE A LOT OF
CHILDREN WORKING WITH THEIR CHILDREN WORKING WITH THEIR
FAMILIES. FAMILIES.
THEY HAVE A NOMADIC EXISTENCE, THEY HAVE A NOMADIC EXISTENCE,
THEY TRAVEL FROM FARM TO FARM THEY TRAVEL FROM FARM TO FARM
YEAR ROUND FOLLOWING THE CHILE YEAR ROUND FOLLOWING THE CHILE
PEPPER TRAIL. PEPPER TRAIL.
AND WE FOLLOWED THE TRAVELS OF A AND WE FOLLOWED THE TRAVELS OF A
12-YEAR-OLD GIRL, ALAJANDRINA AS 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL, ALAJANDRINA AS
HE TRAVELED WITH HER FAMILY. HE TRAVELED WITH HER FAMILY.
>>HOW ARE CONSUMERS AND >>HOW ARE CONSUMERS AND
AMERICAN BUSINESSES IMPLICATED AMERICAN BUSINESSES IMPLICATED
AND COMPLICIT IN THESE AND COMPLICIT IN THESE
CONDITIONS? CONDITIONS?
>>WELL, THERE’S LARGELY A LACK >>WELL, THERE’S LARGELY A LACK
OF PUBLIC AWARENESS OF LABOR OF PUBLIC AWARENESS OF LABOR
CONDITIONS OF FARM WORKERS IN CONDITIONS OF FARM WORKERS IN
MEXICO. MEXICO.
SO WHEN I WENT DOWN THERE, I WAS SO WHEN I WENT DOWN THERE, I WAS
KIND OF SHOCKED AT THE KIND OF SHOCKED AT THE
CONDITIONS, I WENT TO THESE CONDITIONS, I WENT TO THESE
LABOR CANTS AND FOUND THAT THESE LABOR CANTS AND FOUND THAT THESE
FOLKS HAVE CONTRACTS THAT HOLD FOLKS HAVE CONTRACTS THAT HOLD
THEIR PAY SO THAT EFFECTIVELY THEIR PAY SO THAT EFFECTIVELY
TRAPS THEM AROUND THE LABOR TRAPS THEM AROUND THE LABOR
CAMPS AND ALSO THEY FALL IN DEBT CAMPS AND ALSO THEY FALL IN DEBT
WITH THIS OVERRICED COMPANY WITH THIS OVERRICED COMPANY
STORES, SO THE ONGOING DEBT STORES, SO THE ONGOING DEBT
KEEPS THEM TRAPPED AND TETHERED KEEPS THEM TRAPPED AND TETHERED
TO THE FARM AND KEEPS THEM THERE TO THE FARM AND KEEPS THEM THERE
DURING THE SEASON. DURING THE SEASON.
CORPORATE COMPANIES, WHICH ARE CORPORATE COMPANIES, WHICH ARE
THE BIGGEST IN THE U.S., THE BIGGEST IN THE U.S.,
WALMART, ALBERTSONS, RESTAURANT WALMART, ALBERTSONS, RESTAURANT
CHAINS, THEY SOURCE MUCH OF CHAINS, THEY SOURCE MUCH OF
THEIR PRODUCE DOWN THERE AND THEIR PRODUCE DOWN THERE AND
THEY HAVE VENDOR CODES OF THEY HAVE VENDOR CODES OF
CONDUCT, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CONDUCT, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
GUIDELINES THAT WHEN I WAS DOWN GUIDELINES THAT WHEN I WAS DOWN
THERE, I DIDN’T SEE MUCH THERE, I DIDN’T SEE MUCH
ENFORCEMENT OF THESE GUIDELINES. ENFORCEMENT OF THESE GUIDELINES.
>>I WILL SAY WALMART DID SEND >>I WILL SAY WALMART DID SEND
US A STATEMENT SAYING WE HAVE A US A STATEMENT SAYING WE HAVE A
FOCUS ON POSITIVELY IMPACTING FOCUS ON POSITIVELY IMPACTING
OUR GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN, WE CARE OUR GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN, WE CARE
ABOUT THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WORK ABOUT THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WORK
IN IT. IN IT.
WE KNOW THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY WE KNOW THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY
IS IMPORTANT IN MEXICO, AND WE IS IMPORTANT IN MEXICO, AND WE
CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THOSE CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THOSE
SUPPLIERS WHERE OUR STANDARDS SUPPLIERS WHERE OUR STANDARDS
ARE UPHELD. ARE UPHELD.
IF AM A CONSUMER, AND THAT’S IF AM A CONSUMER, AND THAT’S
MOSTLY WHAT I AM. MOSTLY WHAT I AM.
HOW IN 15 SECONDS CAN I BE AN HOW IN 15 SECONDS CAN I BE AN
ETHICAL CONSUMER. ETHICAL CONSUMER.
>>AT THIS POINT, THERE AREN’T >>AT THIS POINT, THERE AREN’T
ANY — CONSUMER GROUPS HAVE MADE ANY — CONSUMER GROUPS HAVE MADE
AN IMPACT IN THE APPAREL AND AN IMPACT IN THE APPAREL AND
GARMENT INDUSTRIES FORCING GARMENT INDUSTRIES FORCING
COMPANIES TO ACT TO ENFORCE COMPANIES TO ACT TO ENFORCE
THEIR EGUIDELINES. THEIR EGUIDELINES.
AND THERE ARE CERTIFICATION AND THERE ARE CERTIFICATION
BODIES IN MEXICO THAT ARE BODIES IN MEXICO THAT ARE
APPARENTLY PUSHING THESE NOW AND APPARENTLY PUSHING THESE NOW AND
TRYING THESE —I TRYING TO GET TRYING THESE —I TRYING TO GET
THESE COMPANIES TO SIGN ON TO THESE COMPANIES TO SIGN ON TO
ENSURE THAT ALL OF THESE CODES ENSURE THAT ALL OF THESE CODES
OF CONDUCT ARE BEING ENFORCED. OF CONDUCT ARE BEING ENFORCED.
>>OUR VIEWERS CAN LEARN MUCH >>OUR VIEWERS CAN LEARN MUCH
MORE ABOUT THIS STORY BY GOING MORE ABOUT THIS STORY BY GOING
ON TO “L.A. TIMES”.COM. ON TO “L.A. TIMES”.COM.
THE STORY UP NOW IS CALLED THE STORY UP NOW IS CALLED
CHILDREN HARVEST CROPS AND CHILDREN HARVEST CROPS AND
SACRIFICE DREAMS IN MEXICO’S SACRIFICE DREAMS IN MEXICO’S
FIELDS. FIELDS.
>>>STILL TO COME THIS MORNING, >>>STILL TO COME THIS MORNING,
WHAT THE PANAMA CANAL HAS TO DO WHAT THE PANAMA CANAL HAS TO DO
WITH ASTHMA IN NEWARK,

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