Organizations Seeking More Protection for Hispanic Workers

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According to the latest statistics, organizations are looking to improve workplace protection for the rapidly growing number of Hispanic workers in the construction industry.

My Safety Sign has put together the latest statistics regarding Hispanic workers.

In a report released by committee vice chair Senator Amy Klobuchar, in 2012, Hispanics comprised 24.4 percent of the construction workforce (the No. 1 industry for fatal occupational injuries in 2012, according to the Department of Labor), 16.2 percent of the transportation industry (No. 2 for fatalities) and 22.5 percent of the agriculture industry (No. 3).

The article goes on to say that a survey from the Workers Defense Project in Texas found that half of the construction workers surveyed were undocumented – 81 percent were Hispanic, 73 percent were foreign-born and 73 percent of the undocumented workers had not received basic safety training.

Organizations like the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) have been formed to help the Hispanic construction community have a voice.

The organization was formed based on an “awakening” in the Hispanic landscape industry.

“The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance is the result of an awakening among Hispanic-American landscape industry professionals to the importance and benefits of collective effort in protecting and advancing our interests,” its website states.

The latest in politics:

  • The proposed “Blue Card” system would enable currently undocumented farm workers to obtain legal status. A University of Illinois study has found undocumented workers face unsafe working conditions more often than legal immigrants.
  • Through the “W-Visa” program, immigrants could receive temporary visas to legally work for employers registered as “Designated Agricultural Employers.” Under this program, the employer must offer “the same benefits, wages, and working conditions to similarly situated U.S. workers.”
  • The “POWER Act” would provide increased legal protection for immigrant workers who are the subject of workplace abuse or “whistleblower” retaliation.
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