The American Federation of Teachers has joined several other groups in filing a class action today on behalf of 350 Filipino teachers who were allegedly subjected to usurious fees, substandard housing, threats of deportation, and other harassment by a teacher-recruitment firm, USA Today reports.
The teachers came to Louisiana on H-1 guest-worker visas arranged by Universal Placement International, a Los-Angeles based company. The lawsuit is the culmination of AFT’s investigations into the company’s practices.
AFT, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the firm of Covington & Burling filed the suit together. UPI’s owner, Lourdes Navarro, and two other employees of the recruitment company face charges of racketeering and human trafficking, the newspaper reported.
Much of the coverage of the teachers’ unions here at Teacher Beat and in news media in general has focused of late on how they engage in issues of policy. This lawsuit serves as an important reminder that unions spend a lot of time on workplace issues like discrimination and harassment.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.