Mar. 11, 2013

SPLC report exposes dangers faced by Alabama poultry workers

When Oscar heard that a poultry processing plant in Alabama was looking for workers, he thought he could apply the skills he learned from studying mechanical engineering in Cuba.

But after the 47-year-old arrived in Alabama from Miami, he was asked to fold chicken wings on the production line. Oscar had to fold them fast enough to meet a quota of approximately 40 chicken wings per minute – or roughly 18,000 wings per day.

“I did my job well,” he said. “But little did I know I was harming myself in the process. They don’t warn you that this can happen.”

After about a month, Oscar developed serious hand and wrist pain. He was diagnosed with tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. When his injuries made him no longer useful to the company, he was fired.

Oscar’s story is all too common within the poultry industry, according to a new report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

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FILED UNDER: Agricultural Workers | Immigrant Workers | Legislation

Mar. 6, 2013

Elected Officials, Immigrant Advocates Call for Stronger Protections for Immigrant Workers

New report reveals California immigrant workers are routinely subject to retaliation by employers

On Wednesday, March 6th at 10:30 am in Capitol Room 317, legislators, labor leaders and immigrant rights groups will call for stronger protections for California’s immigrant workers. At the press conference, the National Employment Law Center will be releasing a new report, Workers' Rights on ICE: How Immigration Reform Can Stop Retaliation and Advance Labor Rights--California, from that shows California’s immigrant workers are routinely subject to abuse and retaliation from unscrupulous employers.

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FILED UNDER: Immigrant Workers | Immigration Reform | Legislation | Retaliation

Jan. 31, 2013

NELP Chart on Immigration Legislative Proposals—Immigrant Workers

In light of recent developments around immigration reform, the National Employment Law Project’s Immigrant Worker Justice Project has developed a chart summarizing the terms of past legislative proposals for immigration reform, with particular attention to provisions affecting immigrant workers. We will also update the chart as legislative developments progress. We hope that this resource is of use to you.

The chart is a work in progress, so if you have any suggestions or edits, please contact echo@nelp.org.

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FILED UNDER: Immigrant Workers | Immigration Reform | Legislation

Jan. 29, 2013

NELP Applauds Long-Overdue Push for Immigration Reform; Urges Strong Protections for Immigrant Worke

Statement of Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project:

Our nation’s leaders are poised to take up immigration reform, at long last.  It’s a move that’s good for our nation, good for our economy, good for the millions of immigrants, regardless of status, who call this country home, and good for all Americans. 

We applaud President Obama and lawmakers from both parties for their leadership in finally putting this momentous issue front and center on the national stage. 

Immigration reform—including a path to citizenship—is badly needed for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in America.  An opportunity for citizenship would allow our nation’s undocumented workers and their families to overcome one of the greatest barriers to economic opportunity in our society.  Reform, done right, will enable these workers to fully contribute to our economic recovery and be wholly integrated into our economy and communities. 

Strong labor protections must be an essential part of reform.  Although the details must still be worked out, any legislation must include protections for all workers who seek to exercise their workplace rights, without fear of retaliation and regardless of their status, now and in the future.  As long as unscrupulous employers can exploit immigrant workers with impunity, employment protections and economic security will continue to be compromised for all workers.

A pathway to citizenship should not be contingent upon the implementation of still-stricter immigration enforcement measures—resources dedicated to enforcement are already at an all-time high.  Nor should one’s work history or unemployment be used to disqualify people from eligibility.  Immigration reform must also not be used as an opportunity to mandate that all employers run every single hire through a flawed and unreliable immigration status database, at the risk of endangering the economic and civil rights of workers and employers alike. 

We look forward to working with policymakers and allies to shape a just and humane immigration policy that fortifies our economy and our communities and lives up to the highest ideals and promise of our nation. 

The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research, education and advocacy on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers.  For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org.

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FILED UNDER: Immigration Reform | Legislation

Oct. 1, 2012

Fight for California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Continues, Despite Gov. Brown’s Veto

Statement of Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project

The National Employment Law Project is deeply disappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision, announced Sunday, to veto the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.  This important bill would have extended basic labor protections to nearly 200,000 domestic workers—protections enjoyed by most other workers in California.  The veto is not the end of the story, however.  Domestic workers and their allies in California and around the nation will continue to fight until all caregivers, nannies, and other domestic workers get the protection and respect they deserve.

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FILED UNDER: Domestic/Homecare Workers | Legislation

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