New Orleans, LOUISIANA — On Tuesday morning, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network hosted a virtual panel and launch of its new REPORT: “Recovering from Climate Disasters: Immigrant Day Laborers as Second Responders.” The report launch is part of a week-long nationwide series of actions and events in commemoration of Workers Memorial Day 2022.
“The report makes clear, immigrant day laborers continue to play the role of second responders during disasters. NDLON’s worker brigades and day labor centers on the ground will be there to support workers as they speak out to defend their rights but ultimately, we need the US Labor Department and DHS to recognize the important role that immigrant workers play, and to give them work authorization accordingly. The rampant exploitation in disaster zones will continue unless the Biden Administration sets a proactive policy to protect workers so that immigration status cannot be wielded as a threat,” said Nadia Marin Molina, Co-Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON).
After Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans in 2021, NDLON’s Disaster Response Brigade conducted outreach and training with workers across the impacted area, surveying day laborers on wages, health hazards, and awareness of their rights, while also sharing resources and documenting the realities for working people on the ground and in the midst of the recovery.
The report draws significant findings and policy recommendations to protect workers’ rights that are increasingly urgent as communities nationwide continue to face more and more disasters, both natural and man-made, and immigrant workers are placed in the center of recovery efforts.
Key findings include:
- Fully half (50%) of the day laborers surveyed had been victims of wage theft in the New Orleans area, and 91% of these workers had experienced wage theft in the past two months while doing post-disaster recovery work.
- Among the day laborers surveyed, 96% were unable to name an entity that could assist them in filing a wage claim. Of those few workers who were able to identify such a resource, most named a worker center.
- Only 15% of day laborers who worked in hurricane-affected areas in and around New Orleans reported that they had received any sort of training for the worksites they were entering, even though employers are required to provide that training to protect their workforce
Read the report here: LINK
“The climate crisis exacerbates the crisis of abuse and unsafe work conditions for immigrant workers in the US, and we need to respond and organize accordingly in advance of the next hurricane season,” said Debora Gonzalez, NDLON’s Health and Safety Coordinator. “This report is a tool to help expose and understand the role that immigrant workers are playing in disaster recovery, and the necessity of government protection for those workers.”
During the panel, Professor Nik Theodore of the University of Illinois at Chicago shared findings from the new report that documents data collected by the Disaster Response Brigade, and exposes the dire conditions faced by immigrant workers during recovery work.
Watch the Panel (translated into Spanish) here.
The panel counted with the participation of James Frederick, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); Leticia Casildo, Executive Director of Familias Unidas en Acción, New Orleans; Rocio Aguilar, Community Organizer for the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice; Cal Soto, Worker Rights Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; and Professor Nik Theodore of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Check out the report and share your support for #SecondResponders on social media.
#SecondResponders #NDLON #DALE
#DisasterRelief #ClimateJustice #WorkerMigrantJustice