Various Migrant Worker Groups Unite to Express Support for Filipino Guestworkers

Around 15 migrant workers groups from across the nation gathered on February 23rd, 2013 at Loyola University New Orleans to display their solidarity with local Filipino guestworkers.

These Filipino guestowrkers are part of a lawsuit against Grand Isle Shipyard, as well as other recruitment agencies.

The workers claim that they were recurited from the Philippines under other conditons, but later worked here in "slave-like conditions" and cheated out of their pay.

Advocates for the migrant workers embarked on a "fact-finding" mission to show support for this case. They started caravans in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere.

Terry Valen, head of the San Francisco-based National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, states that these guestworkers need to garner attention.

"We want to put it out there,” he said. “This is not a secret anymore. This is happening in the backyard of Louisiana and New Orleans. It’s happening in the Gulf Coast and the American South in 2013 and it can't happen again."

Mark Pregeant, the CEO of Grand Isle Shipyard, has refused comment, but his attorney claims that the guestworker's allegations are false.

The class action lawsuit is still pending in federal court.