How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Many braceros still fighting for lost wages


KPCC's Brian Watt and Quyen Lovrich had a story last night about the continuing struggle of elderly ex-bracero guest workers trying to obtain lost compensation from the Mexican government.

Some 4.6 million Mexican workers were employed as agricultural guest workers in the United States between 1942 and 1964 through what was known as the Bracero Program.

A portion of the braceros' wages was set aside for them decades ago in savings accounts for when they returned home as part of a binational agreement. A 2001 class-action lawsuit to force the disbursement of these savings resulted in the court approval of a settlement in 2008. Some braceros have already been compensated, the organizers of a protest outside the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles said yesterday, but there are tens of thousands of former laborers who are still owed. From the story:

Read More...

Remembering those who put food our our tables, and those who can't afford it for their own

Photo by Donna Sutton/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Agricultural workers in a field near the California coast, August 2007

A couple of reports released in the past week are good food for thought as many of us head home early tonight to start Thanksgiving preparations.

One gives us a reason to consider ourselves lucky if we're in a position to indulge at the holiday table; the other, a sense of understanding of the difficulties faced by the people who grow and prepare our food, in particular the female workers who make up a large segment of the food industry.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that around 15% of U.S. households, 17.4 million altogether, didn't have enough money for food at some point last year. Of those, 6.8 million households had chronic financial problems that forced them to miss meals on a regular basis. Minorities, along with single parents, were among those who had it worst. From the report:

Read More...