New York City Council Passes Landmark Bill of Rights for Immigrant Workers
The New York City Council passed landmark legislation on Thursday establishing the city’s first workers’ bill of rights, a victory for immigrant workers. The bill, which was first introduced by Brooklyn Council Member Shahana Hanif in May, would require multiple city departments as well as community and labor organizations to create a workers’ bill of rights that would detail the rights and protections workers are guaranteed under federal, state, and local laws regardless of their immigration status.
Employers would be required to provide a copy of the bill to newly hired employees, and would also be required to post it in a visible location in the workplace. The bill must be posted in English as well as in the primary language spoken by at least 5% of employees. Any employer who fails to comply with the new law will be given a warning with 30 days to correct or contest the violation. Subsequent violations will result in a $500 fine.
To ensure the widest impact, the bill requires the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights, to work in conjunction with labor groups, to raise awareness of the workers’ bill of rights through outreach events and public workshops. Workers would be provided information on how to join unions, what to expect if ICE agents come to a workplace, federal eligibility requirements for Temporary Protected Status, and labor laws.
The NYC CLC has strongly supported the legislation, with the goal of ensuring that newly arrived immigrants are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. “We are saying if we are quick enough to get them on the job, are we just as quick to educate them about what their rights are on that job so they are not getting exploited?” CLC Political Director Lucia Gomez told Documented NY. Read more here!