Chiquimula is a dry, hot state right on the Honduran border. Most of the 150 Guatemalan Brickman workers were recruited from here. Cathleen was able to sign up several clients in Chiquimula for the Fair Labor Standards Act Representative Action brought by the Friends of Farmworkers against the Brickman Group. The lawsuit focuses on who has the obligation to pay the transportation and related costs to bring a worker to the USA—the employer or the employee.
The secondary focus in Guatemala City has been to strategize with Guatemalan advocates and government officials to ensure that foreign companies recruiting workers in Guatemala to work abroad comply with the Guatemalan labor code. According to Article 34 of the Guatemalan Labor Code, foreign companies must pay all of the related transportation costs of the Guatemalan workers they recruit to work abroad. This law is violated wholesale and unfortunately the US government is complicit.
Guatemala is such a beautiful yet tragic country. The level of organized violent crime and accompanying impunity is simply spiraling out of control. The army can be now seen patrolling the city streets, a sight not seen since the civil war. More people are killed daily now then during the country’s 36 years of armed conflict. In this atmosphere of insecurity and poverty it is easy to understand why so many Guatemalans migrate north.
The mission of the Global Workers Justice Alliance is to combat worker exploitation by promoting portable justice for transnational migrants through a cross-border network of worker advocates and resources.
Global Workers coined the term portable justice to describe the right and ability of transnational migrant workers to access justice in the countries of employment even after they have departed for their home countries.