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This Is Illinois

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016

* A must-read story about how a lobbyist and a Latino House member killed off a modest disclosure bill that had passed the Senate

The code word for black workers caught Rosa Ceja by surprise.

She was working for a temp agency in spring 2014, supervising workers at a big brick packaging plant northwest of Chicago. Crews of minimum-wage temp workers in hairnets boxed consumer products such as adult diapers and energy drinks in shifts around the clock.

She knew the company wanted only men for some jobs and only women for others. And she knew those codes: “heavies” for men, “lights” for women.

But when Ceja asked the recruiting office to send more heavies, she was told there were only “guapos” available. She was confused. “Guapo” means “good-looking” in Spanish. “I’m like, ‘Who cares if he’s cute?’ ” Ceja remembers saying.

Guapo, her fellow recruiters told her, meant a black worker. Black people didn’t want to work hard or get their hands dirty, they explained, so they were called the pretty ones. Latinos, the “feos” or ugly ones, were what the company wanted.

Ceja said she checked with a packing company supervisor to make sure.

“She said, ‘If you ever bring me a black guy, they’re automatically walking out,’ ” Ceja said.

Ugh.

Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    The discrimination is totally real and true. It’s why the staffing agencies routinely cruise around Fairmont city where the Latino workers live in the Metro East. Not as bad as up North but I get it. I personally get a lot of folks who show up on the New Hire list as being hired by a temp agency but then never get work. Yep, it’s ugly.


  2. - Foremerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    Vile.


  3. - TinyDancer(FKA Sue) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    NPR/Reveal did a story on this recently:

    https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/decoding-discrimination-in-americas-temp-industry/


  4. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 10:32 am:

    It infects the unions too - note the experience of the African-American construction worker mentioned in this story about Ed Garner’s 2012 protests. http://www.zackstv.com/2012/09/minority-construction-workers-rally-for.html


  5. - Century Club - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    I like the part where Rep. Arroyo defames the whistle blower by insinuating she is being paid.

    It’s a scuzzbag move, but it’s especially telling because his ‘Latinos don’t go against Latinos’ line completely shreds his own credibility on this issue.


  6. - Stuff Happens - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    Asked about this, Arroyo said free meals don’t buy votes in Springfield.

    “I would be a heavy, heavy individual if that was the case,” he said.

    —–

    I don’t think you said what you meant to say.


  7. - Longsummer - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    Arroyo’s moral compass seems really strong. It points him straight to money. What a wonderful country we live in.


  8. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    Lake County Dem, it depends on what union. Yeah, the trades have a problem. The public service unions, I would say no, not at all. A huge percentage of AFSMCE is African American. It’s a point of pride for us. We have great T-shirts from the AFSCME Sanitation workers strike that MLK marched with before his assassination. The T-shirts have the picture of the march and the slogan of the action, “I am a Man”.


  9. - Molly Maguire - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 11:43 am:

    Ferrara Pan candy company settled a class action lawsuit in 2015 around a similar issue of racial discrimination.


  10. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    It makes sense that poor blacks would see Latino immigration as a threat to them and their ability to get minimum wage work.


  11. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 3:40 pm:

    somehow I imagine that Dan Shomon and Greg Goldner are hanging out now, all their vile money schemes…..


  12. - State worker - Tuesday, Jun 14, 16 @ 9:30 pm:

    Honeybear–AFSCME once had civil rights credentials. Now the union supports mass incarceration, for the jobs. Even on the national level, they won’t disavow it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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