Friday, May 03, 2013

Hill Country Farms and Their Slave Labor

Yesterday, I put up a link which talks about Hill Country Farms, and their abuse of the developmentally disabled people who work there. A link to someone else's article doesn't quite do it for me. I decided to do some research into the situation to see if I could find out more. After all, DAWG Oregon would not exist without the inspiration I get from this class of folks.

Their own "description" of what they call a "program" can be traced back to 1980, where on page 3 of a booklet they had produced, it says the "description" was based on materials gotten from the staff, as well as the observations of the author. Next, I found out there is not just 1 farm in Texas, but they also have farms in Iowa, South Carolina, Kansas, and Missouri. Another discrepency I came up with, is that it's not just 37 men involved, but 132! Big difference....

In their "description" of their "program", they tell us "These sites also have bunkhouse facilities, which include modern kitchens and recreational areas". Yet, in another article we're told they had to close down the "bunkhouse" in Iowa because investigators found substandard construction and other unsafe living conditions, a leaky roof and insect infestation. It gets worse.

In addition to the workers being paid substandard wages, hit by fellow employees, called names, confined to rooms, denied bathroom breaks and prevented from seeking medical attention, the EEOC's lawsuit, alleges that the men faced a hostile work environment, harassment, verbal abuse and other "adverse terms and conditions of employment" because of their disabilities. Many of these men had worked for $65 per month over the course of 30 years. Can you believe that? For the life of me, I can't figure out how they got away with this...

Modern day serfs you ask? Exactly! Because the owners of these farms, Kenneth Henry and Jane Ann Johnson found the perfect way to take advantage of other people to meet their own greedy, illegal, and hurtful desires. I don't believe that any amount of money makes up for the crimes they committed!

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