Injustice on our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry

Mary Bauer and Mónica Ramírez
Date of Publication: 
March, 2010
Source Organization: 

This report sheds light on the suffering and indignities experienced by the many undocumented female workers in the American food industry. A majority of the 150 women interviewed for this study endured sexual harassment and assaults while working in the fields, packinghouses or food processing plants. Few are willing to report incidents to employers or police for fear of losing their jobs or being deported. Working for poverty wages they have no access to government programs to help the poor nor do they typically receive health care coverage, sick or vacation time, or unemployment compensation. The report chronicles the heavy toll of work-related illnesses and injuries sustained by workers in the food and meat-processing industries in the U.S. They are exposed to pesticides, blistering heat in the fields and cold in the packinghouses. The report concludes with a series of recommendations to Congress and various federal agencies to end the "shameful exploitation" of "the most vulnerable workers in our country."

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Bauer, M. and Ramírez, M. (2010). Injustice on our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry. Montgomery, AL: The Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved from