PRESS RELEASE - Mesa Verde & Golden State Labor Strikers Collective
Contact: Edwin Carmona-Cruz | edwin[@]ccijustice.org
Esperanza Cuautle | advocate[@]pangealegal.org
July 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BREAKING: Detained Labor Strikers Sue GEO Group Over $1-A-Day Pay
A complaint was filed in federal court amidst retaliation and a COVID-19 outbreak
KERN COUNTY — Labor strikers at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center and the Golden State Annex, owned and operated by The GEO Group, released the following statement:
“When we launched this labor strike at Mesa Verde 77 days ago and at Golden State Annex 37 days ago, our demands were clear: to cease the exploitation of our labor by paying workers according to CA minimum wage of $15 per hour, being treated with dignity and respect by the facility administration, and the improvement of substandard conditions we are forced to live in, in direct violation of the Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS). Our requests for meetings with facility administration and ICE to discuss ways to remedy the violations were done in good-faith, yet we were met with retaliation and aggressive behavior. In fact, the violations of the PBNDS and ERO’s Pandemic Response Requirements have accelerated the spread of COVID-19, where 11 of our dorm mates have tested positive for the virus at Mesa Verde.
We want to be very clear: We are human beings and we have rights. GEO and ICE run these facilities with unchecked power. We are inspired in our fight by detained workers in Washington State, who sued GEO and won $17 million on back pay, and detained workers in Adelanto and Aurora, who are fighting for recognition of their rights as workers. We too are here to say that enough is enough. This lawsuit is not just about labor exploitation with the $1-a-day pay, it is about the never-ending list of violations that put our lives–and the lives of thousands across the country–at risk, and the dehumanization of immigrants.
Despite the growing animosity the facility has against the individuals who refuse to participate in the ‘volunteer worker program,’ we will continue to explore any and all tools to ensure justice is served.”
A copy of the complaint can be found here.