Migrant seafood workers file complaints over COVID-19-based firings in US

Two migrant workers who worked in a Louisiana-based seafood processing facility have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board claiming they were fired due to leaving company housing to seek hospital treatment.

The two workers, Maribel Hernandez and Reyna Isabel Alvarez, were in the country on temporary H-2B visas, according to Reuters. The two workers claim that their employer, Acadia Processors LLC., told them and other sick workers to remain in employee housing without pay while ill.

“I told (Maribel), we’re going to die and they aren’t going to do anything,” Alvarez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

According to the two women, they declined to remain in employee housing and instead packed their bags and headed to a nearby hospital, where they both tested positive for COVID-19 – along with other employees in the processing plant. In response for leaving, they were fired by factory supervisors and told that immigration authorities would be informed, filings that Reuters acquired indicated.

According to report, the two women have filed complaints with both the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The women are being represented by the Mexico-based Center for Migrant Rights.

“Health-wise we’re better now but our morale?... It’s horrible to be like this without a job, without money,” Alvarez said. 

Photo courtesy of Jes2u.photo/Shutterstock


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