On Wednesday, the dozen Indian workers protesting Sigma International with their “satyagrhah,” or truth action ended a four-week hunger strike meant to bring the public’s attention to the unsuccessful and abusive guest worker program in the United States.
Nicole Gaouette writes for the Los Angeles Times:
The workers had camped out in a tiny park across from the Indian Embassy in the shadow of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. They came to the U.S. to work in a Mississippi shipyard, lured by assurances of permanent residency. Instead, they said, they ended up in substandard living conditions, with reduced wages and promises of a green card that never came.
Their protest was designed to illuminate a guest worker program that critics say is rife with exploitation and can be repaired only with congressional action.
“As long as the laws that exist for these programs are unenforced and unenforceable, guest workers will continue to be exploited and American workers will continue to be displaced,” said Saket Soni, director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, which helped plan the protest.