Community leaders want to make sure Latino workers not ripped off in oil cleanup

Minority GroupsSocial IssuesJobs and WorkplaceNashville Flooding (2010)

Just like after Katrina, there's a big demand for Latino workers to clean up the oil.There are some community "watchdogs" who want to make sure workers don't get ripped off.

The oil leak disaster means work, and Latino laborers at Iglesia Cristiana Pentacostal in New Orleans East are eager to help with the cleanup. The pastor has asked two companies to leave applications for his church members.

"They want to work. Some of them been two/three months out of work, because the situation is hard," said Pastor Windsor Semexante.

The demand for Latino workers is great, not just for the oil cleanup, but now even the Nashville floods.

Darlene Kattan of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana says companies and workers from across the South, are calling like crazy. She has concerns about workers being protected and properly paid, which was a problem after Katrina. She's also concerned about language barriers.

"If that worker doesn't understand the command there is no time to politely get an interpreter for him. He has to have a reflex reaction possibly to save his life," Kattan said.

Kathia Duran, another Latino community leader says some predators are making Latino workers pay to apply for jobs, while others are making a mint printing unofficial forms of identification.

"I'm frustrated how unconscientious are certain individuals who want to take advantage on the backs of this community, the Latinos," Duran said.

Pastor Semexante and other community leaders say they'll be keeping watch.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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