Magazine article Nieman Reports

The Work of the Undocumented

Magazine article Nieman Reports

The Work of the Undocumented

Article excerpt

Just minutes after they rolled out of bed and off the motel floors at 3 a.m., Central Valley Forestry workers got a little extra sleep as they rode for two hours to the Tahoe National Forest from Oroville, California. None of the workers, including the driver, wore their seatbelts as required by state law. For some pineros the trip to the forest has been deadly because of the early hours riding on winding forest roads. June 2005. Photo and caption by Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee.

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Eliseo Dominguez, a seven-year veteran on U.S. forest lands, begins to bleed from his cheek after suffering a cut that required five stitches. "I'm alright, I can continue working," said Dominguez after he injured himself and finished taking down the tree. Foreman Manuel Burac, unable to administer first aid, thought differently and dispatched Dominguez to the hospital. The lack of proper safety equipment continues to cause injuries to workers in America's forests. September 2005.

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Faraway from his wife and children in Mexico, Mauricio Ontiveros used a kitchen drawer to eat dinner in a motel room he stayed in with his forestry coworkers who shared the cooking and cost of food. June 2005.

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Modesto Alvarez, 34, of Honduras, quenched his thirst at a snowmelt creek in the Tahoe National Forest after he finished planting seedlings. For Alvarez, and the many pineros working in America's forests, drinking from creeks is not uncommon, but the results can sometimes lead to dangerous cases of giardiasis, an intestinal infection that has cost some workers their jobs. …

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