Seafood processer / crab picker

For Susana, the United States H-2B visa was a chance to earn higher wages than those she could earn in Mexico, which was vital to help her to support her parents. Since her first season working as a crab picker in 2010, she has worked six seasons in Maryland.

Susana estimates that she has sent 90% of her wages over the course of employment to her family in Mexico. She has had difficulty accessing food because of the remote location of her employer-provided housing, and because transportation is expensive and not readily available. She also notes that throughout the course of her employment, men and women have been given unequal employment opportunities: while she and other women are only hired to pick and clean crabs with H-2B visas, men have access to H-2A jobs harvesting sweet potato, tobacco, and other higher-paid agricultural work.

Susana’s primary recommendation is better health and safety conditions. One time while on the job, she suffered burns so severe that they required treatment in a hospital. She recommends that crab houses should spend more time providing training to workers, which will help prevent injuries in the course of the job and bolster morale among employees.