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Court Awards Indian Workers $1.2M In False Slavery Case



May 26, 2006 9:20 p.m. EST

Shaveta Bansal - All Headline News Contributor

Tulsa, Oklahoma (AHN) - A federal judge awarded a group of 52 Indian men more than $1.2 million after finding an oil equipment manufacturer guilty of fraud, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

According to The Associated Press, Federal judge Clair V. Egan's ruling described an environment of threats and intimidation, daily harassment and open hostility from management at the John Pickle Co.

"Defendants recruited Indian workers in India, brought them to the US, housed and fed them separately from the non-Indian JPC employees, identified them as Indians and made numerous discriminatory comments about their ancestry, ethnic background, culture, and country," Egan wrote.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pickle_Company
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H1-B Visas Shaft U.S. Workers, Enslave Others



Recent case of abuse of H-1B visa workers in the United States overlooks bigger issue.

Exclusive to American Free Press

By Tony Blizzard

Predictable abuse of congressional legislation allowing special immigration exceptions for "high-tech" workers brought to the United States under H-1B visa recently surfaced again, this time in Tulsa, Okla.

The John Pickle Co., manufacturer of industrial equipment"”including boilers and other pressure holding vessels"”finds itself in a pickle of a lawsuit due to its practice of holding welders from India as virtual slaves, reports the Tulsa World.

However, the more important issue"”the lack of any need to import welders"”is not addressed.

Pickle has been contracting with Al Samit International, a Bombay, India, recruiting company which charges Indian nationals up to $2,500 to find them work in the United States. That amount is a fortune for the average Indian, who must gain a high income as justification for such a layout. Once the money is obligated to Al Samit there is no backing out of the deal.

Al Samit, at the last minute, demands investors sign contracts which result in pay of between $2.31 to $3.17 hourly, little different from India's wages. The contractees actually work for Al Samit while companies such as Pickle contract their labor.

SIMILAR TO PRISONS

When workers arrive at John Pickle Co. they are housed inside a compound at the factory under least expensive circumstances similar to prison setups. They are not allowed to leave the premises unless accompanied by factory agents. Their work day is reportedly from 12 to 18 hours.

Complainers have been unceremoniously returned to India or shipped to another John Pickle Co. plant in Kuwait to work under similar circumstances.

In Tulsa, about 10 such workers, unhappy in their situation, began attending a close-by Pentecostal church against company orders. Eventually a member of the congregation was convinced of their plight and began looking into it, resulting in the unveiling of the situation in a human rights lawsuit against John Pickle Co.

Remaining Indian workers, about 40, were interviewed in their factory grounds' compound"”which was found clean and furnished with a television and two computers with fast Internet connection"”and claimed they were happy with their arrangement and wished to continue working there.

Joe Reeble, executive vice president of Pickle, admitted that the present group of over 50 Indian welders was the fourth "batch" so contracted. When confronted, he saw nothing wrong with his company's contractual agreement with Al Samit International.

Apparently he was not asked why qualified welders, construed by Pickle as "high tech" workers, could not be found among American citizens. Are Americans impossible to train to do these welding jobs? Why is it necessary to use the congressionally mandated statute granting exception to our immigration laws to fill those jobs with aliens, who obviously must be trained to do the work?

Reeble was apparently not asked why John Pickle Co. doesn't hire American welders at American wages, a must if we are to make our economy well again. How many American welders in this time of massive layoffs are flipping hamburgers or, worse, watching their wives go to a low wage service job every day to pay the mortgage?

In 2001, U.S. companies applied for 342,035 H-1B work visas, up 14 percent from 2000.

The H-1B visa is a six-year visa used for bringing foreign workers into sectors where industry officials claim there are shortages of U.S. workers. Half the H-1B visas the government grants each year are for computer related jobs. About half go to people from India. China is a far second.

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