What's a Union? Union-busting NLRB Elections vs. Card checks Students working with Unions
Immigration & Unions "Right to work" Laws Labor Glossary

Immigration & Unions

If you have questions not covered here, the best way to find out more would be for them to ask a local workers center or union!

(Based on info from the AFL-CIO site)

What legal rights to undocumented workers have?

» On paper, most US labor law grants the same rights and protections to all workers regardless of immigration status. This includes virtually all of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

» Undocumented workers have a right under the law to form and join unions, engage in collective bargaining and participate in other forms of "concerted activity" protected by the NLRA.

» However, very often employers use the threat of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) proceedings — which could culminate in deportation — to discourage undocumented workers from asserting their rights. Whether the threat is carried out or not, it stands as a barrier to asserting rights.

» If undocumented workers are fired for exercising their rights, they are entitled to back pay for any period of unlawful termination, but they may not be entitled to reinstatement unless they can prove their work status has changed. (All workers fired illegally face ridiculous delays in enforcement of the law and often do not get their jobs back, but the risks are higher for undocumented immigrants.)

» Since undocumented workers often are understandably reluctant to reveal their undocumented status to the government, they are in turn reluctant to cooperate with such federal agencies as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when these agencies try to conduct investigations into employer illegal practices.

» The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify that all employees, U.S. citizens or not, are authorized to work in the United States. Hiring an undocumented worker is $10,000 fine to the employer. However, this is rarely enforced.

Home | Search | Sitemap | Contact Us
Feel free to reproduce, modify, and distribute any information on this website.