An exposé on the plight of migrant sugar cane workers in the Florida glades.
H-2 Worker is a controversial expose of the travesty of justice that takes place around the shores of Florida's Lake Okeechobee-a situation which, until the film's release, has been one of America's best-kept secrets. There, for six months a year, over 10,000 men from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands perform the brutal task of cutting sugar cane by hand-a job so dangerous and low-paying that Americans refuse to do it. H-2 Worker is the first documentary to tell the story of these men - named for their special temporary guestwork "H-2" visas. They live and work in conditions reminiscent of the days of slavery on sugar plantations: housed in overcrowded barracks, poorly fed, denied adequate treatment for their frequent on-the-job injuries, paid less than minimum wage, and deported if they do not do exactly as they are told. Providing an in-depth analysis, H-2 Worker includes voices from all sides of the issue: representatives of the sugar companies and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as U.S.l congressmen and Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley. An historical analysis combine archival footage with the testimony of 80-year-old Samuel Manston, who escaped the cane fields at the time of the peonage indictments in 1942. But the voices of the workers themselves are foremost: They are heard through extensive interviews, and through their recordings of actual letters to and from their families in Jamaica. These voices tell an eloquent story which rings with painful truth, and will not easily be forgotten. H-2 Worker is both a compelling expose of institutionalized injustice, and a moving record of human endurance.