Employers Test Ruling on Immigrants
Less than a month has elapsed since the Supreme Court ruled five to four in Hoffman Plastics v. NLRB that the labor rights guaranteed to workers by the National Labor Relations Act do not extend to undocumented immigrants (see WIT for Feb. 28, 2002), but employers are already taking advantage of this ruling in ways that further undercut the rights of such workers. Labor leaders and immigrant advocacy groups alike have been stunned by the speed with which employers have moved to broadly interpret the ruling---which eliminated penalties for employer retaliation against undocumented immigrants? union activities, but left other workplace rights intact---to declare open season on a wide range of rights. Examples of this dangerous trend include: meat processing companies in Kentucky and Nebraska asking for the immigration papers of workers filing a sexual harassment complaint and a workers? compensation claim for a thirty-foot fall, respectively; a California jewelry manufacturer using a workers? compensation hearing to determine the immigration status of an employee and then firing her; a Manhattan meat market warning employees not to picket the store for failing to pay minimum wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.