Mar. 5, 2013
After Hurricane Sandy, Workers Rebuild
Amongst all the background noise of proposed national immigration reform, there are stories that demonstrate the power of collaboration, community organizing, and the "roll up your shirt sleeves" kind of hard work that our elected officials are unwilling to do.
On Saturday afternoon around 50 immigrant workers and community supporters gathered to celebrate the reopening of the Bay Parkway Community Job Center. The Center, along the water's edge in southern Brooklyn, was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Strong winds moved it over 100 feet from its foundation and left the center structurally damaged.
As soon as the hurricane winds faded, Bay Parkway workers, both men and women, formed volunteer brigades and were on their way to help the residents of Coney Island and Far Rockaway to assess damage and start cleaning up their homes. It took nearly four months to replace the former hiring hall, but with community and foundation support, the Workers Justice Project, the organization that manages the center, and workers had it back up and running.Read More >
FILED UNDER: Worker Centers
Feb. 26, 2013 | Posted by: Eunice Cho
New Report Exposes How Employers Take Advantage of Broken Immigration System to Exploit Workers
Study details how employers use immigration enforcement to retaliate against workers, and points to opportunities for reform in current immigration debate.
New York—With immigration reform under serious consideration in Congress, a report released Tuesday by the National Employment Law Project exposes how current immigration policies intended to stop employers from hiring undocumented workers have instead allowed unscrupulous employers to evade both immigration and labor laws.
Through nearly two-dozen case studies, the report paints a shocking picture of how employers use immigration enforcement, or the threat of it, to retaliate against workers who seek to exercise their basic workplace rights. In many instances, workers who tried to collect unpaid wages, report safety violations, escape abuse by their employers, or organize in the workplace were detained and deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with little recourse for their labor rights.
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis endorsed the findings of the report. “As U.S. labor secretary, my top priority was to protect the labor rights of all workers, including those seeking a path to citizenship,” Solis said. “We must never allow immigration status to be used as a weapon to silence the courageous individuals who stand up against wage theft and other labor abuses. While I’m proud of the protections that the Labor Department has put in place for immigrant workers, there is still more to do. The protections we pioneered at the Labor Department need to be included as part of immigration reform.”Read More >
Feb. 25, 2013 | Posted by: Eunice Cho
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Releases Revised U Visa Certification Protocol
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a revised U visa protocol that provides new internal agency procedures for certification of U visa petitions. The protocol streamlines U visa certification within the EEOC, and clarifies the process for U visa certification in cases involving multiple victims of crime in the same workplace.
- The new protocol streamlines certification by designating the EEOC General Counsel as a certifying official with authority to issue U visa certifications, instead of requiring additional approval by the EEOC Chair’s office.
- The new protocol provides a procedure for certification requests where more than one individual affected by the same employment practices may be considered together, although sufficient information must be provided to enable the agency to prepare each individual’s certification form.
- The new protocol continues to require that an EEOC attorney conduct an interview with the U visa applicant as part of a factual inquiry and credibility determination required for certification. However, EEOC attorneys may consider alternatives other than an in-person interview.
NELP will coordinate a conference call with EEOC staff to discuss the new protocol in the near future. Please contact Eunice Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating.Read More >
Feb. 21, 2013
Significant Abuses of Migrant Workers Uncovered in Fair and Carnival Industry
Families across the United States remember with nostalgia the food, rides, and atmosphere of the local fairs and carnivals, but hidden behind the memories and bright lights are migrant workers who pay a high price to create these experiences. On the United Nations World Day of Social Justice, the American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) released a report, Taken for a Ride: Migrant Workers in the U.S. Fair and Carnival Industry, that describes the abuses of migrant workers who form the backbone of one of America's favorite pastimes. The information for the report was gathered using in-depth interviews of migrant fair and carnival workers.Read More >
FILED UNDER: Immigrant Workers
Feb. 15, 2013
New NELP Fact Sheet: Immigration Status and Pay Documentation
The National Employment Law Project has issued a new fact sheet based on a statstically reliable survey of over 4,000 low-wage workers that discusses the availability of work history documentation for those who work in contingent and low-wage sectors.
When advocating for a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States--8 million of who are engaged in the workforce, legislative details will matter in determing how many undocumented immigrants will eventually qualify for citizenship.
The National Employment Law Project supports immigration reform proposals that base eligibility for adjustment of status based on physical presence in the United States, and not on any past or future employment requirements. In particular, such proposals should provide flexible standards for documentary evidence in support of applications for citizenship. Legislation must include coverage of workers in “contingent” jobs such as day laborers, domestic workers, caregivers, and agricultural workers and those who might have difficulty proving their presence in the United States. Valid evidence should include records received from employers, including pay stubs or time sheets, and records maintained by unions and from membership organizations such as worker centers and religious organizations.