Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Campaign

Download a 2-page PDF on the POWER Act

Under current conditions, unscrupulous employers have the ability to threaten workers for exercising their labor rights. These employers are infrequently held liable for labor law violations. Too often, when workers attempt to organize to combat exploitation, employers use immigration enforcement as a weapon to squash organizing efforts and trump labor law. Immigrant workers who are under the constant threat of deportation are forced to accept diminished working conditions. This, in turn, undermines wages and working conditions of all workers. When some workers are easy to exploit, the conditions of all workers suffer because employers “race to the bottom.”

Why the POWER Campaign?

Worker organizing is a critical avenue for low-wage workers to achieve greater economic justice, including a living wage and decent, safe and humane working conditions.  Union organizing and collective bargaining are the cornerstones of the most serious efforts to improve wages and working conditions, including wage theft, discrimination, and insufficient health and safety protections. Yet when workers organize in their worksites, they often face vicious threats and/or are fired or retaliated against for raising concerns and trying to collectively engage their co-workers in organizing to improve their working conditions.

The POWER Campaign seeks to protect the rights of all workers

Understanding that a major barrier to organizing workers is employer retaliation, Jobs with Justice, the National Guestworkers Alliance, the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, the Excluded Workers Congress, and the National Immigration Law Center have developed the POWER Campaign. The vision of the campaign is to bring together unions, workers’ center networks, and other key allies to find solutions that ensure that immigrant workers who try to exercise their basic civil and labor rights are protected from retaliation.

Furthermore, the campaign will attempt to ensure that American workers’ wages and conditions are not undermined by employers who pit them against a captive workforce of exploited immigrant workers.  The campaign will build power around local organizing, wage theft, health and safety, guestworkers and other areas where workers are often exploited, and will encourage policymakers to provide protections for victims of labor and civil rights abuses and to stop labor retaliation in its tracks.

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...
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Campaign Updates

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