01 Oct DANIEL CASTELLANOS-CONTRERAS, ET AL. V. DECATUR HOTELS, ET AL.
This action is brought by H-2B guestworkers recruited by Defendants from foreign countries since Hurricane Katrina to work in the Defendants’ luxury hotel operations in New Orleans. The workers traveled to the United States from their countries of Bolivia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic to perform guest services, housekeeping, maintenance, and other essential support functions in the hotel operations of the Defendants. Like thousands of other migrant laborers who have been lured to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the workers in this case left their homes and families based on false promises of high earnings, stable jobs, and good living conditions.
The Defendants brought the workers in the is case to the U.S. pursuant to the H-2B “guestworker” program. As a part of the application for obtaining certification to bring H-2B guestworkers to the United States, the Defendants certified to the U.S. government that “qualified persons in the United States are not available” to full the jobs. See 20 C.F.R. § 655.3. The Defendants made this assertion despite the fact that local U.S. workers, mostly African Americans, had previously worked in this industry in New Orleans and were available to do so again. The Defendants’ goal in using foreign labor instead of seeking the services of U.S. workers was to drive down wages and working conditions.