Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ICE RAID UPDATE: Another Exploitive Employer Finally Faces the Music! But No Relief for Workers!

In March, 2007, one of the largest and most non-humane ICE Raids occurred at the Michael Bianco Inc. plant in New Bedford, MA. Federal authorities arrested 361 workers, most of whom were from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. These raids were particularly cruel as ICE Raiders stormtrooped into this small factory and arrested the majority, 361 of their workers. These workers were shackled. Many were rushed away into the night and flown to a Detention Center in Texas. Families and the townsfolk were in shock especially since there was no mention of where the workers were being sent or how their children or families could contact them. Immigrant advocates criticized the raid for separating families and leaving children without proper care. Somehow, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the raid was properly handled although leaders in the State of Massachusetts disagreed.
It was reported that Francesco Insolia, the owner of the plant, had solicited, hired and exploited these 300+ workers, most of whom were from war torn, hurricane ravaged Guatemala. He said he did this so he could fulfill his contract with the Government of producing backpacks for the soldiers in Iraq. Initially, no charges were filed against Insolia although the government did say they were investigating. Now, 19 months later, news reports indicate Insolia is FINALLY being held accountable for his crimes.
AP Reports:
Michael Bianco Inc., a manufacturer that was awarded almost $230 million in (Government) contracts, also pleaded guilty Monday to 18 specific counts of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants between early 2004 and late 2006. The company has agreed to pay a fine of about $1.5 million and pay around $460,000 in restitution for overtime owed to employees. Insolia faces a year to 18 months in prison for his guilty plea and has agreed to pay a fine of $30,000. "The defendants' conduct in this case undermines our nation's principles of freedom and the integrity of our immigration system, oftentimes placing legally operating businesses at a competitive disadvantage," said U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan. In addition, Sullivan announced that two managers of Michael Bianco Inc. have agreed to plead guilty in connection to the March 2007 raid. Dilia Costa, the company's production manager, pleaded guilty to hiring and harboring illegal immigrants. Gloria Melo, the company's contracts administrator, pleaded guilty to continuing to employ illegal immigrants even after the company had reason to know their legal status. All will be sentenced in mid-January.
I have reported and commented about Insolia for some time. His was the first of the largest ICE Raids with the most inhumane treatment to their workers. He has gone unpunished for his exploitation for far too long. It is about time he has been brought to justice given the danger he imposed on his workers and on the New Bedford community. That said, it should also be reported that his business, Michael Bianco Inc., went OUT of Business. He sold his company to Eagle Industries of Fenton, Mo., his largest competitor. The latest information I found on Eagle Industries in New Bedford was this report.
from the MA AFL-CIO:
Description:
When workers at Eagle Industries in New Bedford tried to organize with UNITE HERE, management told more than four dozen workers that they were being terminated and their jobs shifted to Puerto Rico.
Eagle Industries is under contract to produce backpacks for the U.S. military. Join us in letting them know that companies under contract with the federal government should respect the right to join a union, and not send jobs offshore as a form of retaliation.
This exploitive employer is abusing American workers! Why aren´t these types of threats illegal?

6 comments:

Dee said...

Let us be clear! I am GLAD the employer is finally being held accountable.
However, I am very concerned about what happens at the end of an ICE Raid!
I worry about the inhumane treatment of workers.
Beyond that, I am worried about the devastation on the local community.
Why are employers like Eagle Industries allowed to FIRE employees and threaten them with outsourcing to Puerto Rico.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICAN EMPLOYERS!!
They make me SICK!!
I know that New Bedford is a POOR Community and the poor Portugese immigrants are LEGAL and hungry for work. It is WRONG for that company to do this!!

Dee said...

The more I think about it, the more it makes me angry.

My Dad was a proud Union man!
How on earth is it Ok and Legal for an employer to FIRE people and threaten outsourcing just for joining a Union!

This is Despicable!!

Liquidmicro said...

$$$$$$$

is the answer!!

Dee said...

But Liquid,
IT IS NOT Fair!!
How can an employer threaten and fire workers for joining a union!
This is not the 1930s!!

Liquidmicro said...

Where are "Illegal Aliens" going to goto? They are threatened with being fired for joining a union. You must know the individual state laws on employment, most do not. Its also not fair for workers to be here working which are "Illegal". Unfair business practices, unfair to American Citizens, unfair to 'Legal' immigrants. Insolia is getting his just rewards, the workers were sent back from whence they came.

Dee said...

Liquid,
For Eagle, I am asking you to take illegal immigration out of the equation and simply focus on the outrageous behavior of Eagle, the employer.
How on earth are they allowed to FIRE people merely for checking into joining a union?
Shouldnt the laws be changed to protect these citizens?
We have to stop exploitive employers!



Liquidmicro said...
Where are "Illegal Aliens" going to goto? They are threatened with being fired for joining a union. You must know the individual state laws on employment, most do not. Its also not fair for workers to be here working which are "Illegal". Unfair business practices, unfair to American Citizens, unfair to 'Legal' immigrants. Insolia is getting his just rewards, the workers were sent back from whence they came.

Page Hits