Welcome to The Times in Plain English   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to The Times in Plain English

Workers in Texas Helped by Workers Defense Project

August 19, 2013
Plain English Version

Construction is a dangerous business. Many workers lose limbs or suffer severe injuries. Added to the hazards of the job is another danger: not getting paid.

Workers are getting help in Texas. The Workers Defense Project fights for back pay and workman’s compensation. It is one of the nation’s strongest advocates for immigrant workers. And it includes the most unprotected class: undocumented workers.

The Workers Defense Project focus is the Texas construction industry. More than 600,000 Texas workers are in construction. About half are unauthorized immigrants.

The Workers Defense Project is not a union. It does not bargain for its members in the way unions usually do, through contracts and seeking higher pay.

Construction trade unions are starting to take notice, and are coming around. So are some of the big associations of contractors in Texas. Labor observers are excited about a new model of doing business. Can advocacy associations take the place of unions or become unions over time?

The problems facing the Workers Defense Project are big. Many workers who are not documented are afraid to join for fear of being deported. There is such a high turnover rate in the jobs that enrolling new dues-paying members is difficult.

But there is optimism that a new way of doing business and protecting workers is coming. For example, the Workers Defense Project has used liens to stop the flow of money and supplies to projects. This forces owners of projects to pay the back pay owed to workers.

The Texas legislature passed a law that makes wage theft a criminal act. All over the nation, workers and politicians are trying to improve the wages and working conditions of low-wage workers.

Source: The New York Times

Print Friendly

Features

New Research: What it Means to Become a Mother

There is even a word that describes it. It is “matrescence.” The matrescence period begins during pregnancy and extends into motherhood. The signs can...

An Immigrant Artist in America

Nari Ward is an artist from Jamaica. He lives and works in a former Harlem fire station.

Nari Ward takes everyday objects – most...

The Expert’s Guide to Contentment

The experts met in Vancouver. The agreed on the following tips to a better life.

  • Face-to-face social...

Watch That Juice Drinking

Of course, you thought fresh orange juice was good for you and your children. Who does not? Some experts do not.

A good many Americans...

Archives

Dictionary
  • dictionary
  • English Dictionary

Double click on any word on the page or type a word:

Powered by dictionarist.com
Click to listen highlighted text!