Vietnamese refugee files suit against international corporation Aramark and others

Phuong-Anh Vu claims she was among a group of Vietnamese workers essentially conscripted to work in clothing ‘sweat shops’ in of all places Jordon.  What the heck is going on here?  Why are Vietnamese being told they have to learn to speak Chinese and lured with offers of supposedly good paying work to go to the Middle East!

It is a complicated legal case, good luck trying to sort it out here!

HOUSTON (CN) – More than 100 Vietnamese nationals say they were “assaulted, imprisoned, defrauded, and treated like indentured servants” making clothes for U.S. companies in Jordan, where labor contractors – and the Vietnamese government – lured them with promises of high-paying jobs.

  The workers were starved, beaten, imprisoned at the factory, and at least one died from the abuse, according to the federal complaint.

The workers claim defendant U.S. companies Aramark and Academy Sports & Outdoors were part of an “international human trafficking conspiracy,” as they contracted the factory to make clothes for them.

Back in 2010 I noticed the name Aramark popping up as one of those companies involved somehow with the US Refugee Resettlement program, here and here, but haven’t looked at the company since.  Aramark, by the way, is gobbling up food service contracts at colleges and schools throughout the US.  Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign is also in tight with Aramark.

Call me a conspiracy-monger but I see deals between big businesses looking for cheap laborers and government (the US State Department for one!) as a driving force behind efforts to move human beings around the world (LOL! who are the human traffickers here?) and thus as a primary reason we are having such immigration concerns and problems right here in the US.

What is the Jordan connection?  Is Aramark an Arab-owned company?  Does anyone know?

Endnote:  By the way, just cruising around the internet just now I see that even college students are questioning the big corporation—Aramark—that feeds them.  One article that caught my eye was this one—about “greenwashing”—charging that Aramark lies about its “sustainable” food practices.

Did organizers push immigrant workers into the union?

Long ago I made a category for ‘Aramark’ a huge company that is gradually taking over food services in schools, colleges and institutions around the US.  I never did pursue it much and then I saw this story in In These Times (a socialist publication):

Aramark is one of those companies pushing for more immigrant labor.  Here is the only post I’ve written on it so far.   I suspect they aren’t pleased with the unionizing that is going on.

Note that the immigrant workers initially resisted unionization.

Issues like these (described in opening paragraph) are why the 204 workers from 16 countries decided to form a union. After a difficult organizing campaign where they initially faced intense opposition from their employer, Aramark, on Nov. 16 the company agreed to recognize UNITE HERE Local 1 after 80 percent of workers signed union cards.


Aramark is strictly about the company making money, they’re a multi-billion dollar corporation, they don’t care how we survive or that we are living pay day to pay day,” Irving said [Grill cook Janet Irving].

Irving said workers tried to unionize several years ago but the effort was squashed by intimidation before it got off the ground. This time, she said, the key was keeping organizing secret until they had gained a critical mass. Loyola students and professors and Chicago interfaith and community groups also supported the workers, including at several public rallies.

“Without them we wouldn’t have made it,” said Irving, adding that continued support will be important as they negotiate their first contract. “Students, priests, the neighborhood, teachers – everybody stood behind us.”

The unionizing drive was especially challenging because of the diversity of the workforce, including refugees and immigrants from Bosnia, Mexico, China and several African countries. Some of them had negative impressions of unions or heightened fears about repression because of situations in their own countries.

“Half of them were really scared, or didn’t really understand what a union is all about,” said Irving. “It was a little difficult, but we made it.”

DePaul University was involved too and the Social Justice crowd played a key role.

Both Loyola and DePaul are Catholic universities where social justice is held up as a core value. This provided leverage for students, cafeteria employees and supporters demanding the universities live up to their own values in how workers are treated. DePaul students have been carrying out a living wage campaign that included the delivery of a petition with 1,500 signatures to the university president last semester.

A deadly combination—-large multinational corporations looking for immigrant labor, the religious Left,  and unions looking for socialist voting power.

Refugees needed for meatpacking and more—food service, janitorial service etc. etc.

We’ve written innumerable posts on these pages about the big meatpackers needing cheap LEGAL immigrant labor.  As a matter of fact, I believe they and other big companies are the drivers behind the refugee resettlement program.  Big businesses know how to work the political and federal government systems to supply their needs—Jonah Goldberg writing in Liberal Fascism calls this “corporatism.”

Wages will stay relatively low when there is a large pool of employable people willing and able to do the job—a simple fact of business economics.  In the case of refugees, wages can remain low because some of the other needs of the new immigrant are met through various forms of  public welfare.

Well, they have to work somewhere you are saying!  Yes, they do.  I don’t disagree!  I also suppose there are many American citizens desperate these days to work at Cargill, Swift & Co., Tysons, or Aramark.  I’m not addressing that question here.  What drives me crazy is to see do-gooders think and act like the refugee program is all about warm cuddly humanitarianism.

The fact of the matter is that pouring immigrants into the US to benefit big business fits very nicely into this public relations framework that the political Left has well-established.   Whether it’s historic “preservationists” supposedly saving a site and cashing in on its tourist potential with hotels and convention centers nearby, or “environmentalists” being sucked into the global warming corporatism where the big players are going to make a bundle selling carbon credits, or big companies lobbying for amnesty for illegal aliens trying to look like humanitarians when it’s the bottomline they have their eye on—that is the well established strategy.  Do-gooders keep falling for it and can be counted on to call critics (like us) racists (or whatever fits their demonizing goal) thus shilling for the big money bags behind the strategy.

My point is, just be truthful.  In the case of refugees, the State Department (the Obama Administration now and the Bush people previously) just tell the truth, just admit there is a big business element driving the refugee program and the Open Borders movement as well. (In addition to adding voters to the Democratic voter rolls.  I could never figure out why the Republicans don’t see that.)

So what got me off on this latest tirade?   Two articles last week mentioned that refugees are working for Aramark (see also Aramark at wikipedia, here).  I didn’t even know what Aramark was, but have since learned that they are a giant company that runs such things as food services at your kid’s college cafeteria, or even whole public school cafeterias.  They also supply cleaning services for airports, hotels and even hotels in National Parks!*   They need a constant supply of cheap labor.   They are working with the volags (federal refugee contractors). They are also involved with Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity.  Because there is so much, I’m going to make a whole category just for Aramark here at RRW and follow their involvement in the refugee program.

Here are the two articles that first caught my eye:

This one, from Deseret News, tells us about Aramark employing refugees in Utah.

Roughly 1,000 new refugees arrive in Utah each year after fleeing wars and persecution, and the biggest issue now is finding enough jobs, says Emily Smoot, refugee job developer with Catholic Community Service.

Smoot is encouraged by the successes of refugees she has placed in jobs recently — including 26 with Aramark Corp. at Lake Powell Resort.

The second one is about the Bhutanese in Cincinnati :

The family is happy in Greater Cincinnati. Khadka Neopane works in the laundry at Aramark.

I bet you are saying again, so what, they have to work, they apparently don’t mind the work—that is not my problem.  My issue again is that I want an admission that the refugee program is not simply an issue of helping the world’s downtrodden.  It helps the Far Left achieve their political goals and it helps big business.

Below are links I’m saving for future reference.   Let me be clear, I am not saying Aramark is a good or bad company for taking advantage of immigrant labor.  I only want to make the point to humanitarians that the refugee program is not all about doing good for the immigrants and refugees, it is doing good for the corporate bottomline and for professional politicians willing to help their corporate friends.

Aramark angers Union in Detroit, here.

Aramark hammered by SEIU, here.

Aramark CEO holds wedding reception at Ellis Island, here.

Aramark found guilty of discrimination by EEOC, here.

Aramark gets “diversity” award, here.

Aramark targeted, here.   Apparently they oppose card check!

*  I’m digressing, but I know a good bit about the National Parks because I had to fight to keep my farm from being taken by the National Park Service a long time ago.  Did you know that the same strategy was and still is employed in connection with the Park Service.   Preservation types (do gooders) push for expansion of old parks or the creation of new ones while their big money friends build hotels and convention centers nearby.  It is actually a brilliant scheme.  The public (taxpayer) pays for the care of the attraction (the park) and the big money friends of the preservationists (sometimes the preservationists themselves!) cash in nearby.   It is sold to the public as an issue of “saving” some important environmental or historic asset, but financially benefits certain people and allows the federal or state government to take over more land.   Do you see the core strategy and how it’s just the same with the refugee program?