NELP Honors Workers Defense Project and Jose Garza

Despite the president’s promises, low-wage workers face incredible challenges under this Congress and the Trump administration, from startling rollbacks of crucial health and safety and overtime protections, to efforts to pass legislation that leaves contract workers out to dry. Meanwhile, it is clear that Trump’s policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric embolden those that would harm America’s immigrant workers, who are often already especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse on the job.

It is in this environment that Workers Defense Project (WDP) has led the way in defending Texas workers from both national and state-level attacks. Since WDP was founded in 2002, the workers’ center has boldly fought for low-wage workers, training thousands of workers on their employment rights, providing leadership and English-language training to immigrant workers, and securing a broad swath of local and statewide policy wins, including laws that improve health and safety standards, protect against wage theft, and improve enforcement.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Jose Garza, WDP has played a particularly vital role this year in protecting the rights of immigrant workers in Texas, joining with workers and other advocacy groups in the fight against Texas Senate Bill 4, and educating immigrant workers on their rights on the job.

Amidst these political attacks, Texans were of course also hit with one of the worst hurricanes the state has seen in recent years. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, WDP set to work protecting Houston’s (largely immigrant) construction workers, tasked with cleaning up the damage, from wage theft and other abuse on the job. Organizers hit the ground running, traversing hundreds of miles throughout the city to speak to day laborers face to face, so that WDP could learn how best to advocate for its members.

NELP commends Mr. Garza and Workers Defense Project for their fierce advocacy during these trying times.

Join NELP on November 29 in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Jose Garza and Workers Defense Project, as well as our other honorees who have risen to meet this moment.

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