January 8 kicks off a nationwide campaign in Michigan design by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

The campaign will educate immigrant construction workers on a multitude of issues including wage theft and changes to immigration policy that will affect hundreds of thousands of workers and their families in 2018.

With decisions on Temporary Protective Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals looming coupled with alarming news that wage theft is on the rise, particularly in areas hit by recent natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades are coordinating efforts to educate workers on exploitation and safety on the jobsite.

According to a report published by a worker advocacy group in Massachusetts, Community Labor United, “…across the country, employers are subcontracting and outsourcing their work and distancing themselves from their responsibilities to their employees. Through practices such as multi-layered contracting, the use of staffing or temporary employment firms, franchising, misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and other means, employers are turning traditionally secure jobs into low-wage poverty jobs. While sometimes these practices reflect more efficient ways of producing goods and services, too often they are the result of explicit employer strategies to evade labor laws and erode worker protections.”

The IUPAT sees these attacks on immigrant workers as an attack on labor as well as, an attack on the economy. The decision of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to terminate Temporary Protective Status would have immediate, expensive ramifications for our country and industry costing taxpayers $3 billion, a $45 billion reduction in GDP, $6.9 billion reduction in Social Security and Medicare contributions and nearly $1 billion in employer costs combined with and already stressed skilled worker pool. These actions against immigrant workers and their families will do nothing more than push hard working members and families back into the shadows and to the vast contractor pool without a voice or representation.

To expand these efforts, the IUPAT has recently joined the coalition Working Families United, a coalition of labor unions, including the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, UNITE HERE, the Ironworkers, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, and the United Food and Commercial Workers seeking immigrant worker justice. Together, we represent 2 million U.S. workers.

For more information visit http://www.workingfamiliesunited.org