Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Protect Workers

Warehouse Workers United traveled to Sacramento Mar. 6 to join California lawmakers in calling for stronger protections for California’s immigrant workers.

At a press conference at the Capitol, Marta Medina, a former warehouse worker, joined with Assemblyman Roger Hernández to call on California to lead the way.

Capitol Press Conference for Immigration Reform

“We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects workers from retaliation,” Medina said. “Right now all the employer has to do is threaten one or two workers and the entire workplace is silenced. No one will complain if their wages are stolen, if equipment is unsafe, if there is no water or even if someone is in danger.”

Marta shared her own experience about threats she received after speaking out about her treatment while pregnant.

Marta MedinaI decided I needed to do something about the way I was treated and I did. The management then called me into the office and told me that ICE might see what the warehouse workers were doing on television and that if ICE made a visit to the warehouse I would be blamed for whatever happened to the other workers. They said this to try to keep me quiet and make sure none of the other workers knew their rights. No workers are protected as long as employers are able to make these kind of threats.

The National Employment Law Project released a California version of its report called “Workers’ Rights on ICE: How Immigration Reform Can Stop Retaliation and Advance Labor Rights.

The report documents how unscrupulous employers frequently use immigration status as a tool against labor organizing campaigns and worker claims, which exploits some low-wage workers and in turn causes all low-wage workers to suffer compromised employment protections and economic security.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Responding to a National Employment Law Project report on workplace abuses of undocumented immigrants, Assemblyman Roger Hernández, D-West Covina, is holding a hearing on the treatment of undocumented workers in California. Joining Hernández will be Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer for the California Labor Federation; Eunice Cho of the National Employment Law Project; Gabriela Villareal of the Center for Immigrant Policy Solutions; and Marta Medina of Warehouse Workers United. In room 317 of the State Capitol building, starting at 10:30 A.M.

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