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Migrant labor and unions - Essay Example

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When World War II began pulling the US out of the Depression and drawing farm hands away from their fields, the US government—in cooperation with the government of Mexico—developed an official program for seasonal Mexican migration north to the fields. The Bracero program…
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Download file to see previous pages ding housing, transportation, bathing facilities, wages comparable to those of American laborers, and contracts written in Spanish; (US Government, p 1760) discrepancies between the guaranteed protections and actual treatment were, unfortunately, the norm. Many Mexican workers found themselves working in sub-standard conditions, and often faced hostility from the local population. Still, they were supposed to pay well by Mexican standards, and so many took the risk of winding up in lousy contracts. Important for our purposes is the way the Bracero program managed to establish the kind of circular migration pattern still a part of now mostly illegal Mexican migrant work: workers would come to the US for some time, return to Mexico during the off season, and then come back to the US to make more money with the next crop. It also established a history of broken promises to migrant workers on the part of farm labor employers, and minimal repercussion on those who would take advantage of migrant laborers.
In the late 1960s, the Bracero program and all of its extensions and revised forms officially ended, but migration by Mexican workers north in search of agricultural did not. Today, many come for similar reasons as those who came generations ago. Not much has changed since the early half of the twentieth century concerning the motivations for workers to migrate: “Conditions in Mexico were much the same then as they are now—politically and economically unstable with a corrupt government and massive unemployment... Farmers and peasants tied to Mexico’s feudal economic system flocked by the thousands for a chance to travel to El Norte where work and a new life could be found”. (Bedolla)
In the initial stages of the Bracero program, employers were responsible for transporting temporary workers to and from their home location in Mexico. When the program ended, many found that plenty of Mexican workers would make the trip themselves, often suffering ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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