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SACRAMENTO, May 18, 2018 – SEIU California, along with a coalition of workers, community advocates and Sacramento City Council Member Eric Guerra, gathered Friday to stop the Trump Administration from overturning a state law that protects all workers from discrimination.
SEIU California filed an amicus brief to join the state of California in defense of the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, also known as AB 450, that requires workers be notified of I-9 audits before they occur, protects workers from unnecessary reverification of work authorization that is not required by law and empowers employers to require a warrant before immigration enforcement agents can enter non-public areas of a worksite.
SEIU California’s action comes as cities and local jurisdictions around the state are considering supporting the Trump Administration’s lawsuit or standing in solidarity with the State of California.
“As we grapple with a Trump Administration bent on targeting our state and our crucial workforce, California must protect the human and economic investment we have made in our communities to keep our golden state thriving,” said David Huerta, president of SEIU-USWW. “AB 450 ensures the safety, dignity and civil rights of all workers are upheld in the workplace.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration sued the State of California on March 7, 2018 over AB 450, as well two other laws, SB 54 and AB 103. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has vowed to fight the lawsuit and keep the laws in place.
Medical assistant Rosalie Garcia Bernal, a United States citizen, shared how AB 450 is critical to helping California’s workforce avoid situations like the one she faced when her employer of 30 years questioned her authorization to work, despite being an American citizen, accused her of falsifying information because of the employer’s confusion over her maiden and married surnames, only to learn she was a U.S. citizen who was always eligible to work. Garcia Bernal had to produce multiple proofs of identification over a three-month period and was even suspended during reverification despite the employer being wrong.
“What happened to me is one of the many reasons why SEIU and our partners worked so hard to see AB 450 become law – so workers and families can continue contributing to their workplaces, communities and providing for their families without fear, and to make sure employers don’t do unnecessary reverifications that are not required by law,” said Garcia Bernal, who was born in Gilroy.
“Living in fear, the unknown of whether I’d keep my job and feeling like an undocumented person for two days – it felt like a lifetime for me,” she said. “And yet I know many people, family and friends, who live like this every day and just want to be able to work. This is why we need the Immigrant Worker Protection Act for all workers.”