POWER Act Would Empower U.S. Workers at a Critical Time
(La Isla Magazine, June 2018) ~ HHI, SC. By The National Immigration Law Center. WASHINGTON — Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reintroduced the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act on May 22, 2018, which would strengthen the labor and civil rights of immigrant workers.
The POWER Act would provide workers with tools to exercise their rights to organize for safe working conditions and fair wages without fear of retaliation from abusive employers or deportation. It has the support of a broad and diverse cross-section of labor, civil rights, and immigrants’ rights organizations that, collectively, represent millions of working people across the United States. Key provisions of the bill include expanding eligibility for U visas for workers who are involved in a workplace claim and who fear or have been threatened with force, physical restraint, serious harm, or other abuses. The POWER Act would also allow stays of removal and employment authorization for workers who have filed or are material witnesses in a workplace claim.
Jessie Hahn, a labor and employment policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement: “Our current immigration and labor systems provide a perverse set of incentives for abusive employers to exploit immigrant workers. Under the Trump administration, these conditions have been exacerbated by attacks on existing protections for workers and ramped up immigration enforcement, including the reemergence of violent worksite raids designed to intimidate and silence workers. Unscrupulous employers are exploiting fearful workers to undercut honest employers trying to play by the rules.
“The POWER Act would provide the means to hold abusive employers accountable, while also promoting fair wages and fair working conditions for all workers and creating a level playing field for all employers. This sensible legislation, rooted in the principle that all workers should be able to take a stand against labor violations, is now more important than ever. We applaud Congresswoman Chu and Senator Menendez for reintroducing the POWER Act and implore Congress to give it serious consideration.”