Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, joined immigrant and labor rights groups to call for stronger labor protections and put an end to abusive practices by employers. .
Hernandez, the California Labor Federation and a coalition of Immigrant Rights Groups hosted a press conference Wednesday in Sacramento to advocate for laborer rights. They also urged for a comprehensive immigration reform package that would include labor protections.
Spurred by a report by the National Employment Law Project released last month, which not only supported direct path to citizenship, but supported workers protections to low-wage immigrant workers, caregivers and day laborers, Hernandez said stiffer penalties must be enacted against “abusive employers.”
Hernandez and other immigrant rights groups say employers often threaten to turn over undocumented immigrants if they complain about working conditions. Art Pulaski, secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, told The Los Angeles Times that low-wage employees, especially undocumented workers, are often vulnerable to employer abuse.
"They are often fired. Their wages are stolen, and they're threatened with sexual abuse," Pulaski said. "All because employers know they can get away with it."
Hernandez, who represents Glendora, Monrovia and Baldwin Park in the 48th Assembly, said he hoped the press conference would bring to light the mistreatment and abuse suffered by undocumented immigrants. Hernandez introduced AB 263, which promotes immigrant worker protection against retaliation in the workforce.
“California must take on the challenge of leading the way as an advocate for the undocumented worker, and defend them from abusive employers,” said Hernández.
Should the government step in to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants from employer abuse? Tell us in the comments.