POWER Act Will Lift Floor for All Workers
Bill by Rep. Judy Chu provides crucial whistleblower protections for immigrant workers & U.S. workers alongside them
WASHINGTON, DC, November 5, 2015—On Thursday, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) introduced the POWER Act (Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation) to the U.S. House of Representatives. Co-sponsors included Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Rep. Robert Scott (VA-3).
Below is a statement by Saket Soni, Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice:
“Every worker in the U.S. needs the POWER Act. More and more, U.S. workers face the same kind of vulnerability and instability that immigrant workers have long faced. The POWER Act ensures that when vulnerable immigrant workers stand up to blow the whistle on workplace abuse, employers can’t retaliate by threatening them with deportation. By helping immigrant workers expose abuse, the POWER Act also helps lift the floor for the tens of millions of U.S. workers alongside them.
“Without the POWER Act, an immigrant worker like Shellion Parris can be recognized by the federal government as a victim of involuntary servitude, and still face deportation. Workers like Shellion deserve immediate protection from deportation when they blow the whistle on employer abuse, and deserve the ability to work while they pursue their claims. The POWER Act would provide it.
“The POWER Act would help protect high-road employers too, by making sure that they are not at a disadvantage to exploitative employers. It would also lets law enforcement agencies do their job by ensuring that witnesses and victims of workplace crimes aren’t deported in the middle of an investigation.
“By lifting the floor for every worker in the U.S., the POWER Act provides a crucial first step toward combating income inequality and expanding opportunity for all.”
The bill was endorsed in a sign-on letter by 72 civil, labor, and human rights organizations, including the National Guestworker Alliance.