By David Martinez
On Monday and Thursday, the Oxnard Tribune Support Committee (SC) distributed copies of a Worker Correspondents article written by a worker at Waterway Plastics, a local manufacturer of materials for jacuzzies and pools. During the distributions, carried out at a line for COVID-19 rapid testing, the SC met other former employees of Waterway who confirmed the poor work conditions described in the article matched their own experiences.
One former worker named Marcelina said everything in the article was true: “They didn’t give us a break, they wouldn’t let us use the bathroom either. After three weeks of quitting, I still have not received my last paycheck.”
One woman, Sarah, said her brother used to work at Waterway, and was injured on the job. “He was seeing a doctor for his injury, and they fired him before he even recovered.”
Jesus worked at Waterway three years ago and told Tribune he was fired for needing to take more than 3 days off to attend to his sick father, “I had to go to see him in the ICU. I explained to them my dad was dying, and they gave me three days–after that, I was terminated. They could’ve given me info to get paid family leave, but nah.”
The SC met Alfonzo, a former Waterway worker who said the poor conditions go back over a decade: “I used to work at Waterway 10-12 years ago and it was a disaster. They don’t give you a break or permission to use the bathrooms ever.”
Alfonzo felt encouraged seeing news coverage that exposed such conditions: “In the 80’s the workers would not be heard, so it brings me joy that you all are helping the workers use their voices with this.”
The worker who contributed to the Waterway article told Tribune she recently cut herself at work while using a knife to cut off excess plastic from a product she was tasked with assembling, resulting in a hospital visit. Saying that the company should be providing gloves to workers and fed up with the lack of protections, she quit the job earlier this month.
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