Signal Intl. faces new US lawsuit filed by immigrant workers alleging company trafficked them to work at Gulf Coast shipyards
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Author: Chandra Bhatnagar of American Civil Liberties Union & Daniel Werner of Southern Poverty Law Center, in McClatchy.com
The company wanted its workers to get the message that they would not have "free rein when they decide that they want to run." This echo of the bondage of centuries past was in an email between managers at Signal International, the Alabama-based industrial ship manufacturing and repair giant. They were writing about 500 guest workers from India, legally employed at Signal...with H-2B temporary work visas, but illegally subjected to fraudulent recruitment practices, squalid living conditions, and threats of serious harm. Last week, in an effort to pursue long-delayed justice, three of America's largest law firms filed lawsuits against Signal on behalf of many of these men, and at least five more major law firms have agreed to represent many more.
Dozens of Indian guest workers are suing an Alabama-based marine and fabrication company, claiming it financially exploited them and forced them to live in squalid conditions after bringing them to work at Gulf Coast shipyards after Hurricane Katrina. Three federal lawsuits backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center were filed Tuesday in Mississippi and Texas on behalf of 83 people who worked for Signal International LLC after the 2005 storm slammed into the coast…A Signal International lawyer said she hadn't seen the new lawsuits and declined to comment on their allegations…The plaintiffs claim Signal used the federal government's H-2B guest worker program to recruit them to work as welders and pipefitters at its facilities in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas.
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Author: Southern Poverty Law Center
A coalition of some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms today began filing a series of federal lawsuits to prosecute multiple human trafficking and racketeering allegations against a Gulf Coast marine services company and its network of recruiters and labor brokers. The cases stem from an SPLC case, David v. Signal International LLC case, which was filed in 2008 on behalf of 12 named plaintiffs and a class of Indian guest workers…The new lawsuits allege that the defendants trafficked more than 500 Indian guest workers to the United States after Hurricane Katrina and forced them to work under barbaric conditions at Signal’s shipyards in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas.