NLRB Directs Regional Offices to Protect Immigrant Workers Taking Action to Win Good Jobs

https://www.chicagoworkerscollaborative.org/post/nlrb-directs-regional-offices-to-protect-immigrant-workers-taking-action-to-win-good-jobs?fbclid=IwAR0Q16ZSvRWWls03HmmW8gw-QUw7evskfY6w2ixagi2x_XuGlsc_1k7u03Q

February 10th, Waukegan- Today, the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued a memorandum to all field offices, committing to working closely with other federal agencies. The memorandum is important news to the Alt-worker members of the Chicago Workers Collaborative. 

Specifically, the NLRB’s leader stated that she is “committed to ensuring that all immigrant workers are able to fully and freely exercise their labor rights.” This means the Regional NLRB offices will work with immigration enforcement agencies such as Homeland Security to provide protections for immigrant workers so they can improve substandard conditions in their workplaces: “I fully support DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ memo on worksite enforcement that puts DHS’s focus where it belongs—on unscrupulous employers, who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers through threats of deportation to undermine the labor standards of everyone in our workforce and disadvantage law-abiding employers. I believe this must include prosecutorial discretion in all appropriate cases involving workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, violations of our Act.”

The announcement comes at a time when CWC workers members are leaving manufacturing and warehousing jobs due the exploitative practices that the NLRB and labor enforcement agencies seek to end. In a recent series of meetings with representatives from Governor Pritzker’s Commission on Workforce Equity and Access, CWC members said they were moving into areas of self-employment and cash-based jobs due to this exploitation. Many, who worked throughout the pandemic through temp agencies, say they are tired of “jobs that treat us as animals,” and “want jobs that offer stability and equal pay for equal work.” 

“Workers are leaving manufacturing and creating their own jobs such as selling food and cleaning houses because of the mistreatment,” said José Frausto, CWC’s Leadership and Advocacy Manager. “They don’t trust the government will help them, either. This collaboration between the NLRB and Homeland Security offers worker protections such as work authorization so they can improve their working conditions and have dignified, life-sustaining jobs. It is a win-win for workers, good employers and consumers.”

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