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Turkish Migrant Workers from Giresun in the United States: Socio-Economic and Professional Conditions

Author: 
Dr. Nuray Gökçek Karaca and Dr. Erol Karaca
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The aim of this study is to determine the socio-economic and professional conditions of Turkish migrant workers from Giresun in the United States. To that general aim, this study investigated the social origin and family structure, quality of life, features related to working life, working conditions, social and political participation, thoughts about living in the United States and expectations of future of these migrant workers. The research was carried out with 92 Turkish migrant workers from Giresun, working in Connecticut; Bridgeport, New Haven and Danbury. The data were collected by using a questionnaire composed of 79 closed and open-ended questions developed by the researcher based on a literature review. This questionnaire consists of items related to the social, professional and economic conditions of these migrant workers. Data which were collected by a questionnaire towards migrant workers were analyzed with descriptive statistics by using the statistical package SPSS. The findings of the study revealed that The vast majority of Turkish migrant workers from Giresun in the U.S. are young and economically active male. These workers in the U.S. can be seperated into three groups such as those whose both enterance to and working in the U.S. are legal, those whose enterance to the U.S. is legal but working there is illegal, and those whose neither enterance to nor working in the U.S. is legal. Turkish migrant workers from Giresun have migrated to the U.S. because of the ‘push factors” in Turkey and the ‘pull factors’ in the U.S. The push factors in Turkey are economic reasons such as unemployment or not having job opportunities, low income and poverty. The pull factors in the U.S. can be grouped as economic and non-economic reasons such as better job and training opportunities, higher wages, family reunion and better future. Along with these reasons, the immigration policies that the U.S. follows also cause Turkish migrant workers from Giresun to prefer the U.S. Due to being clandestine and incompetency of language, a great proportion of these migrant workers are engaged in jobs unrelated to their profession and training, they are usually paid below the minimum wage, and they have longer working hours compared to the U.S. labour. A great proportion of these workers, including the legal workforce usually lack social protection and benefits such a health, medical and employment security. In addition all of the examined Turkish migrant workers from Giresun remain out of interest of American and Turkish trade unions, and politics. They are also faced with unemployment though not for a long period.

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