Economic Justice

In recent years we have strengthened our focus on economic justice issues as a result of workplace injustices we uncovered. Workplace discrimination issues disproportionately affect immigrant workers for a number of reasons. Language barriers, poverty and lack of awareness of their rights, and fear of retaliation often prevent them from seeking legal assistance or contacting governmental labor and law enforcement authorities. The scarcity of legal resources in high poverty areas and limitations on federally-funded legal service providers seriously complicate matters for undocumented immigrants. Of the few legal service providers that serve all immigrant workers regardless of status, none focus exclusively on Latinos, and few serve the geographic areas we work in.

Too often, the institutions that are supposed to benefit workers instead work against them. Recent immigrants often rely on local employment agencies that charge fees and largely control access to low-wage jobs, such as domestic and restaurant work. Employment agencies often take advantage of and defraud workers by charging exorbitant advance fees for unfulfilled services, knowingly place workers in jobs that violate state and federal labor laws, fail to pay minimum wage or overtime, and threaten to blacklist workers who complain. Domestic workers often rely on referral agencies to access per diem jobs that barely pay a poverty wage. Restaurant workers have been known to use these agencies only to find themselves working 70+ hours without earning minimum wage or overtime.

Programs

Latinas at Work

The purpose of the Latinas At Work Project is to challenge the systemic abuse of immigrant women workers in the metropolitan New York area. The exploitation of Latina immigrant workers is a serious and pervasive problem throughout the country. From factories, hotels, restaurants and other small businesses to private homes, workers are routinely subjected to exploitative labor conditions with long hours, illegally low wages and sexual harassment. The Latinas At Work Project seeks to challenge the systemic abuse of immigrant women workers. Read the full description of the program here.

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis

The burdens of the Puerto Rican Debt crisis are being shouldered disproportionately by the people in Puerto Rico. In an effort to shift this imbalance, we are working with activists in Puerto Rico and the United States to make sure that solutions developed respect the rights of the people in Puerto Rico more than the banks. You can read about a FOIA we filed for information concerning the federal fiscal control board established under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) here.

Economic Justice Legislation

LatinoJustice follows a number of laws at the local and national level about Economic Justice. Check back here regularly for updates on specific laws that hurt or benefit the community. The featured Economic Justice Legislation will be updated on a monthly basis. The first piece of legislation that we want to highlight is our testimony before the New York City Council on the Street Vendor Bill, you can read the testimony here.

Economic Justice Updates

LATINOJUSTICE PRLDEF, NAACP AND CBC FILE BRIEFS IN SUPPORT OF TENNY’S LAWSUIT

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the NAACP and the Citizens Budget Commission each filed Amicus Curiae briefs this week in support of Tax Equity Now New York’s lawsuit seeking reform of New York City’s property tax system. TENNY is a coalition of homeowners, renters, rental property owners, civil rights and social justice organizations, that filed suit in April 2017 seeking reform of the New York City property tax system on the grounds that it is irrational, and unfairly burdens low income & minority neighborhoods. Despite widespread support for property tax reform in New York, the City and State are currently fighting the suit.

Puerto Rico Se Levanta

It has been a harrowing couple of weeks, with the disasters impacting our friends and families in Mexico and Puerto Rico. LatinoJustice is in action. The first order of business was to seek out trusted relief efforts to which we could donate and direct donations for emergency relief efforts.

Comment Submitted to NARA Opposing the Destruction of Crucial Government Records About ICE Detention Abuses

The proposed records schedule, Docket No. NARA-2017-054, would allow the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to begin destroying crucial government records that detail “incidents of sexual abuse and assault, escapes, deaths while in agency custody, telephone rates charged to detainees, alternatives to detention, logs and reports on status of detainees and detention facilities, and location and segregation of detainees.” We write to express our deep disagreement with this agency’s preliminary approval of such a request by NARA Appraiser Ashby Crowder and stress upon NARA the importance of preservation of these documents which are critical to the public well-being.

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