I decided to write a short story about some of the illegal immigrant workers that were being exploited by the toy company Ty for cheap labor.
[3:33 am]: Laying in bed, unable to fall asleep again…..I’m already used to waking up at 4 am I guess at this point.
[3:49 am]: After making sandwiches for Enrique and Gloria, I head out to the docks near the apartment…off to the side of the 31st street harbor.
[4:04 am]: Made it out into the street and reach into my coat….mierda….I only have 5 dollars in my pockets, I had forgot I used the other 3 dollars yesterday to buy ice cream for Gloria and Enrique.
[4:10 am]: I made it to the dock a little late…socorro….there’s already more than 40 fornaleros waiting here to get picked up by the Raiteros from the toy factory….I hope Esteban comes today because I gave him 4 dollars last week…
[4:27 am]: Raiteros are here. No Esteban. Today they are supposed to bring the pay checks…dios mio.
[4:30 am]: Raiteros say to call the agency on 36th street about the paychecks because he didn’t get it.
[4:36 am]: A 17-year old muchacho spared me his spot and stayed behind with the other fornaleros because he knew Enrique my son from the neighborhood….I am on the ferry.
[4:58 am]: We arrive at the factory, I am working in the main assembly line today with only one bathroom break. We have to make sure 10,000 peluches are finished today because of the holiday time.
[10:43 am]: I overhear the floor manager talking to Raitero driver Rigo, She tells him she can’t pay for the repairs to the ferry and she can’t pay for the gas he used today. Rigo tells her that he brought workers everyday to the factory for 8 months. She tells him to leave.
[12:00 pm]: I have 15 minutes to eat my almuerzo…..I used the last of the jamon y queso this morning to make sandwiches for Gloria and Enrique. I just drink a small cup of water and go back to the line.
[3:30 pm]: I told Rigo to ask the floor manager about the pay checks and he says that they don’t have them…I showed the manager my paper with all the hours I worked for the last 2 weeks…she says she doesn’t have the checks…..mentirosa….
[4:45 pm]: My hands have been working all day and I can’t even pick up another peluche. Rigo and his ferry are back
[5:27 pm]: I get onto the ferry with everyone, some workers got their checks when they were leaving…I asked for mine showing the paper with all my hours and the manager said to call the agency because they don’t have it.
[5:55 pm]: I walk to the Temp agency on 36th street for my pay check and I see a line of 25 fornaleros waiting…..dios mio
[7:22 pm]: Finally get my check for the week of work at 12 hours each shift…..$291.30. Thats it. I asked about the rest of the pay and they said that was all.
[8:07 pm]: At home, Gloria and Enrique are waiting for dinner and I brought some Chinese food from down the street. I have only $275 dollars to use in one week. I have to go to sleep hungry again….
[4:03 am]: Rigo waits at the dock and is collecting his money for transportation from everybody because yesterday they got checks. He asks me and I told him they already deducted from my check….I only got $291. He says mentiroso and calls me pendejo and doesn’t let me get on the ferry without 8 dollars. I tried to fight to get on but he pushes me over and closes the gate to the ferry. He will go to another pick-up dock and leaves all 60 fornaleros at the dock behind with no work for the day. Gloria needs to go to the doctor soon and I can’t afford to pay for it right now.
[4:22 am]: I start walking to 37th street to the next fornalero van pick-up spot and there are over 50 of them waiting at the street corner……mierda….the Raitero Juan asks me for 8 dollars to get on…