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NDLON calls on Labor Secretary nominee Marty Walsh to re-imagine and rebuild the Labor Department

National Day Laborer Organizing Network  |  Issue: Febru

“That must include whistleblower protections that removes the threat of deportations for workers that speak out about rampant abuse.”

Multiple Cities – In response to the Biden transition team announcing Marty Walsh as the nominee for US Labor Secretary, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) issued the following statements:

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Alvarado, Co-Executive Director of NDLON.

At this moment, work- and the exercise of rights at the workplace- is a matter of life and death, and the Biden Administration must take appropriate steps to reinvigorate the Department of Labor in general; and in particular, it must devote considerable resources and energy to defend immigrants’ rights.

“We call on Mayor Walsh and the Biden transition team to prepare for bold and immediate administrative actions to ensure that the president’s immigration policy aligns with its labor policy. Day labor and immigrant worker centers are calling for shielding immigrant workers from retaliation by providing work authorization for those reporting labor violations. Moreover, it’s time for an end to the racist exclusion from relief for the hundreds of thousands of frontline workers who have played a vital role in supporting our communities during this pandemic.

While we are encouraged that Mayor Walsh has the support of many diverse unions, it is not enough to maintain the status quo. We must defend existing labor rights, and push to expand worker rights for a fully equitable and just recovery from this unprecedented crisis. On behalf of our network, we pledge to do both.

Lorena Quiroz, Lead Organizer and Founder of the Mississippi-based Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE).

There is authority and urgency to enact whistleblower protections removing the threat of deportation for Mississippi’s immigrant workers. It is the threat of deportation that abusive employers have used to target workers and erode labor standards. The fact is, for over two decades, US immigration policy and labor policy have been in direct conflict, and this laid the foundation for white nationalist right populism that propelled the the most racist presidency in modern history.

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Bliss Requa-Trautz, Executive Director of Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center.

Day laborers are suffering and dying because they do not have the option to get state unemployment benefits and they cannot quarantine because they would starve. Our inhumane system leaves our most important workers with no other recourse than to risk exposure, and they have only survived due to the intervention of communities of low-wage workers providing mutual aid. The next administration must change course and stop the death, and we expect the Labor Secretary to define that new direction. Moreover, we hope leadership at the federal level will catalyze much-needed action at the state and local level.

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Oscar Londoño, Executive Director of WeCount!, a workers’ center in Florida

In a moment when millions of workers are facing compounding crises – a global pandemic, massive un- and under-employment, and increasing levels of precarity and inequality driven by corporate greed – our new Labor Department must answer a basic question: Which side are you on?, We urge President Biden and announced Labor Secretary Walsh to stand on the side of all workers. We need a Labor Department that prioritizes strategic enforcement with labor unions and workers’ centers, raises the floor of protections for precarious and undocumented workers, and builds the power of organized labor. This will take bold leadership and vision, and a unified labor movement willing to fight for what we all deserve.

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Eleazar Castellanos, a health and safety organizer and day laborer from Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center

As immigrant workers we are risking our lives daily, continuing to work throughout the pandemic, in the face of countless labor violations. When we exercise our rights to a safe and healthy work environment, we face threats and intimidation. We call on Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary to implement long overdue whistleblower protections as necessary to ensure that workers, their families, and workplaces are safe and healthy.

WORKERS CENTER LEADERS AND MEMBERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW IN VARIOUS STATES.
Contact:
vvidal@ndlon.org

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