"The contrast between the treatment of produce and of people is stark."
December 8, 2014 5:45 PM Subscribe
Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables — the first in a series of four Los Angeles Times long-form stories about labor conditions discovered during an 18-month investigation of Mexican vegetable farms that supply produce to the United States.
The Times found:
- Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
- Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
- Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It's common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
- Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
- Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments