Undocumentedworkers have face harsh working conditions, abuse at the hands of theiremployers, fear of being reported and deported for decades and up until nowthere has been little to no action taken to protect these disadvantage workers.Recently, a Bipartisan legislation has been discussed to take a stand on thisHuman’s Rights issue.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez andCalifornia Reps. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) and George Miller (D-Martinez)introduced legislation S.717-POWER Act that would give workers who have faceabuse at the hands of their employers provisional “U visas.” Thevisas were designed to provide temporary legal status to immigrant victims whocome forward to report violent crimes, and the proposed legislation wouldexpand the protection to those who come forward to report workplace violations.As Americans, who areknown to be ”For the People, By the People”, Americans should have theirvoices heard and should advocate for an Act, such as the POWER Act which showsthat regardless of the Legal Status of the worker they are still a person whodeserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
As Democratic Senator Menendezstated, “When some workers are easy to exploit,” Menendezsaid, “conditions for all workers suffer.”Thewords used by Menendez have some truth to them as this mistreatment of workersdoes not only effect undocumented workers in fact, this trend of abuse in theworkplace mostly affects minority groups, African Americans, DocumentedHispanics/Latinos, and Women. According to Harold Meyerson, journalist and memberof the Democratic Socialist Party who further explains that ”Undocumented immigrants are just one among many groupsof workers who effectively lack job protections that most Americans take forgranted. In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act, known for having established anational minimum wage and overtime pay, it excluded restaurant employees andretail, domestic and farm workers. (It has been said that in order to win thevotes of Southern senators required President Franklin D. Roosevelt to effectivelyexclude all occupations that were then largely filled by African Americans.)”. Harold Meyersonemphasizes ”The Act has been since expanded to cover some of the workers,however agricultural laborers have yet to be given the federal right to collectover time, home health providers still have no federal right to a minimum wageand ”tipped” workers like waiters are only entitled to a minimum of $2.
13 anhour. Agricultural and domestic workers still do not have a right to unionizeunder the National Labor Relations Act (However, farm workers have won thisright on the state level in the state of California), low paid independentcontractors such as port truckers and taxi drivers are excluded.” Inequalitiesin the work place are not something the American people are new to, there havealways been those who are more privileged than others, employers takingadvantage of their workers.
However, the American people are made to believethese experiences and issues are a thing from the past that when Labor unionswere created all of these problems evaporated and to some extent that is true,workers have more protections, but one cannot be oblivious and believe thatmajor corporations care about the vulnerable workers they employ. For example,construction workers, by this law are protected against this type of abuse,they are under the protections of wage,hour and unionization laws. Since employers know they can violate these lawswith impunity because their workers have no union contract and areundocumented. Most of the time the outcome of such conflicts is workerdeportation, not management fines. This exemption of undocumented immigrantsfrom the protection, in the workplace laws in reality encourages employers tohire more undocumented workers. It is easy for management to ignore and notuphold labor laws when employees can’t complain. Theabuse and neglect suffered by undocumented workers isn’t just an immigrationissue as most opponents of the POWER Act would like to present it as, it is ahuman rights issue. Most say that the workers wouldn’t suffer the abuse hadthey just stayed in their country or come to the United States legally.
However, the millions of immigrants who come to the country illegally, wouldn’teven come here in the first place if big corporations wouldn’t take advantageand hire them, they migrate because they are aware that they are jobopportunities here, what they do not most of the time is that they will facediscrimination and abuse, by the time they are experiencing the abuse they are outof options, if they report the employer, they can lose their job and facedeportation.