Legislative alert: New law gives Building Trades reps a role in protecting immigrant workers

Feb. 15, 2018 - A new California law to protect immigrant workers gives Building Trades representatives a role to make sure that our members are not subjected to hyper-aggressive enforcement worksite raids by federal agents.

Under AB 450 (David Chiu-2017) sponsored by the California Labor Federation, employers who have been notified by immigration authorities about impending raids or document inspections of their employees must inform the workers and their collective bargaining agents within 72 hours of receiving the notice.

"Many of our union brothers and sisters are immigrants,” said State Building and Construction Trades Council President Robbie Hunter. “This important law promotes workers' abilities to exercise their workplace rights to join unions without fear of harassment and reprisal."

Chiu’s Immigrant Workers Protection Act passed the Legislature last year and was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill is intended to ease immigrant workers’ fears of being rounded up at their job sites on any given day for the purpose of deportation.

AB 450’s key provisions are the 72-hour notices and the requirement that employers ask to see a judicial warrant or subpoena before they allow agents to inspect workers’ employment eligibility forms or allow the federal officials access to non-public areas of a work site.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra has stressed that the California law does not conflict with federal immigration statutes. Instead, it protects workers’ privacy by restricting employers from voluntarily offering federal immigration authorities access to records and to non-public work areas that otherwise would require warrants or subpoenas, Becerra said.

According to Assemblymember Chiu’s office, some 21 percent of California’s construction work force is undocumented.

For further information on the law, see this Frequently Asked Questions report posted by California Labor Commissioner Julie Su: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/immigrants/immigration-ab450.pdf

Also, Assemblymember Chiu’s press release: https://a17.asmdc.org/press-releases/assemblymember-david-chiu-joins-attorney-general-xavier-becerra-release-guidance

And, Attorney General Becerra’s press release: https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-issues-advisory%C2%A0providing-guidance-privacy-requirements

 

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