Statement: IUPAT Applauds New Department of Labor Protections for Immigrant Workers



ContactRyan Kekeris, 410-564-5884,

Statement: IUPAT Applauds New Department of Labor Protections for Immigrant Workers

Yesterday, the Department of Labor released public guidelines clarifying the process by which immigrant workers can seek assistance to gain protection against retaliation when they experience or witness labor rights violations. With this guidance, the DOL has helped pave the way for more workers to come forward and speak out against unscrupulous employers who use threats and intimidation in an attempt to skirt the enforcement of workplace laws.

Our union wholeheartedly welcomes this news as we’ve been fighting for years from coast to coast for workers who have reported workplace violations in the construction industry and faced retaliation and threats related to immigration enforcement.

Recently, our union has worked with allies to gain deferred action for workers in Maryland, allowing those workers to be protected from immigration-related retaliation, and to obtain DOL support for the protection of others exploited in Arizona. Threats of deportation from bosses and weaponizing immigration enforcement is central to the brutal underground economy in the construction industry that has existed for far too long. We are hopeful these guidelines and a proactive DOL can begin to protect immigrant workers from abuse and help to restore immigrant workers’ faith that the system can and does work to protect their labor rights.

Everyday throughout the US, we see the impact of what happens when workers don’t feel they can speak out in the face of harassment, stolen wages, and unsafe conditions. As a union we know that a system where bad employers can intimidate workers virtually unchecked harms both workers and good employers alike. Our union organizes and fights to represent everyone who does our skilled trades, regardless of immigration status, and we will always fight for our members and the unorganized in our industry who are facing these conditions and desperately need standard workplace protections.



Represents a growing community of over 140,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. The IUPAT membership extends far beyond the workplace. Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labor movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families, and through effective worker education and mobilization.

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