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Retaliation: Port of Houston seafarers avoid medical care

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Jones Act, Longshore Act

Workers on ships or at ports across the U.S.A. may want to learn more about an issue happening at the Port of Houston. It is about medical care that an injured worker may need; they often do not seek help because of fear of retaliation when it comes to getting another maritime job. This is especially true of workers from the Philippines who have involvement in seafaring occupations.

According to media reports, a study of workers showed that they were hesitant to seek out medical care, worrying about having their name on a blacklist.

Workers protected by the law

The Jones Act is an important part of maritime law. However, it places responsibility for medical care on the employer. Workers are afraid they will not receive future contracts if they want to see a doctor.

Unlikely to get medical care

Those who are at a dock in Houston might need the help of the union. They only contact the union representative when the physical suffering is great.

Seafarers face numerous dangers

Some of the more likely accidents that might occur to a seafarer include the following:

• Work accidents

• Drowning

• Heart disease

• Suicides

• Workplace violence

Many of the injuries from accidents might end up with the worker becoming disabled.

Filipino workers may work on U.S.-owned ships

Filipinos who die or get injured on the job have few legal resources, although they or their families may sue within the U.S. system.

Union representatives who work with these people consider the treatment of these seafarers as modern slavery. Recent issues regarding the supply chain and ships stuck at sea made matters worse.

Medical care is a need, and workers should not be afraid of retaliation when they seek care for an injury or illness while at sea and then in the Port of Houston. Filipino workers are often afraid to get help, for fear of their names being put on a blacklist.