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Resource ID: #19778
Subject: Labor
Source: Baltimore Sun
Date: 2002-09-15



A joint investigation by the Baltimore Sun and the Orlando Sentinel revealed that "a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation... slavery of a sort still (exists) in America. Today's victims are not bound by metal shackles, but legal contracts in which they sign away years of their lives... (The) three-part series told how thousands of Pacific Islanders were lured to America with promises of high-paying nurse's jobs, but ended up emptying bedpans in nursing homes or working at menial tasks at amusement parks, jobs American workers wouldn't take. The contracts, which few of the islanders understood, required them to stay on the job for as long as two years and made them liable for damages of up to $6,250 if they bolted... The islander's meager paychecks, barely more than minimum wage, were depleted by 'service charges.' ... The series was a novel joint venture between The Sun and another Tribune paper, The Orlando Sentinel. After (Walter F.) Roche (Jr.) discovered many of the workers and recruiters were in Florida, (Willoughby) Mariano joined him to complete the reporting on the series. Both papers published it simultaneously."

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