Sen. Menendez, Reps. Miller and Chu re-introduce POWER Act

Sen. Menendez, Reps. Miller and Chu launch POWER Act

Bill anchors campaign to defend workers’ right to organize

Washington, D.C., June 14, 2011—Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez re-introduced to the Senate the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act, while a House version was introduced by Reps. George Miller and Judy Chu. The POWER Act is designed to protect the right of immigrant workers to expose labor abuses without fear of retaliation—which will secure job opportunities, wages, and working conditions for U.S.-born workers as well. (Read full text here.)

Too often, when immigrant workers attempt to organize to combat exploitation, employers use immigration enforcement as a weapon to quash organizing efforts and trump labor law. The POWER Act ensures that immigrant workers who try to exercise their basic civil and labor rights are protected from retaliation. Simultaneously, the bill ensures that American workers’ wages and conditions are not undermined by employers who pit them against a captive workforce of exploited immigrant workers.

The POWER Act’s key provisions include:

  • Measures to ensure that worker protection laws are equally enforced in all workplaces.
  • U visa eligibility for workers suffering serious labor violations.
  • Temporary legal status with work authorization for victims of crime and labor retaliation.
  • Measures to ensure that workers in labor disputes have the chance to provide information to federal authorities before deportation proceedings.
  • Measures to hold employers responsible for labor law violations.


“Across the country, employers are using immigration enforcement as a weapon to stop workers from organizing for dignity. The result is a race to the bottom that all workers lose,” said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworker Alliance.

“The POWER Act will let thousands of workers organize, without fear, to end the severe labor exploitation that marks our era,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice.

For more information, go to http://www.thepoweract.com.

Jacob Horwitz, Lead Organizer
National Guestworker Alliance
jacob@guestworkeralliance.org, (504) 452-9159

Workers on the Front Lines

josueAfter Hurricanes Gustav and Ike forced people living on the Gulf Coast to evacuate, I was recruited to work along with 11 other workers from a day-laborer corner in New Orleans. The employer promised us good work, fair wages, safe conditions and housing in Texas. We believed him. When we arrived in Beaumont, we were horrified...
Read More

Campaign Updates

  • 1
  • 2