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- Pinay in Hong Kong in Stable Condition After Contracting Deadly Flesh-eating Disease
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Filipino Guestworkers in Louisiana Allege Company Cheated Them, Kept Tax Refunds
Ferdinand Garcia was once one of hundreds of foreign guestworkers at Grand Isle Shipyard, a busy oilfield contractor in Galliano.
Now, he is part of a growing group of human trafficking victims, who say they were treated like slaves and lied to, all in violation of workplace regulations.
And amid our investigation into Grand Isle Shipyard and its affiliated companies, comes a new allegation. Workers say they were fooled and cheated out of their tax refunds by their employer, a subcontractor with ties to Grand Isle’s executives.
Filipino guestworkers say they were forced to sign papers handing “power of attorney” over to the company. Others claim they never even signed the documents and their signatures were forged.
“They never explain to us about the paper that we need to sign in there,” said Eduardo Real, a welder. “They just told us just copy this example letter.”
At least one worker can show he wasn’t even in the country on the date he supposedly signed the document. And documents, including the people involved in this operation, prompt even more questions about the company’s actions.
For months we’ve been investigating these companies, confirming many of these workers claims, and much more.
We went all the way to the Philippines and found a troubled system in which workers were recruited and trafficked to Louisiana machine shops and offshore oil platforms. We uncovered immigration paperwork based on lies, numerous apparent violations and more.
In the Philippines, Romeo Andrade told us of how he worked off and on at Grand Isle Shipyard for several years. In his first go-round, he was shocked at his payslip. Not only because the pay was far below what he had been promised, but also because of the Social Security number noted on the paperwork. It read: 000-00-0085.
“From 2006 until 2008 I had a lot of deductions that they made from my payslip,” he said. “And then when I came back in 2009, I had a Social Security number, which is stated on my payslip.” That number was far different.
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