Call 4 Action - Migrant worker blows whistle on abusive workplace
Tue, 21 Dec 2010 04:58:24 GMT —
Migrant worker Reynaldo Vela is not keeping quiet about what he calls hazardous working conditions.
He says the environment he worked under was abusive.
"It was rat infested, that was the main thing. Rat infested, insulation coming down. It was a nightmare, said Vela who went to Welch, Texas just outside of Lubbock back in October to work at Welch gin, a cotton producer.
Vela says the barracks he stayed in were 100 percent metal, without heat or air conditioning.
He adds the only insulation was on the ceiling and it was falling apart.
Pictures Vela provided us show a rotting sink and stove and even worse blood inside the refrigerator.
"I regret picking up and going there. I made a big mistake, said Vela adding that he complained to the owners about what he claims were terrible working conditions, several times.
He knew he would be the minority by doing so.
"The reason most of those people don't complain is because the majority are from Mexico and they can't speak English. And if they were too complain they wouldn't do anything, adds Vela.
Fed up with his situation, Vela took his claims to OSHA.
The federal agency sent him a letter stating they closed the case on the grounds the hazardous conditions had been corrected.
Because of this, Vela lost his unemployment benefits.
"The Texas workforce cut my benefits saying that based on their investigation they had concluded that I left my job without a good reason, said Vela
Now he say's he's disappointed and desperate.
All he wants is justice.
"We're in 2010 living in the United States of America. There is no need for us to be living or to go to work and have to live in those conditions, said Vela.