Pre-COVID, most people went about their day without a care doing things regular folks do to provide for their families and loved ones. The term “essential workers”, wasn’t part of the daily diction when describing a type pf profession. As a matter of fact most nurses or doctors or people in careers considered “essential” picked these jobs either out of passion, livelihood or both never thinking that it would someday be the lifeline for others. As COVID-19 rages on society has come to rely on these essential workers for support in keeping the economy going or saving lives. The question however remains, who is looking out for these essential workers as they look out for everyone else?
In a zoom conference for ethnic media, Los Angeles County is stepping up efforts to support essential workers who often include immigrant workers, who can be victims of exploitation by ruthless employers.
A third of the Los Angeles population is immigrants with a work force comprising janitors,restaurant workers, health, delivery, warehouse workers etc FUSE Corps executive advisor for the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), Michael Nobleza noted that these essential workers’ lives are put at risk daily for everyone else’s safety. He went on to state that “physical health and well-being comes second to economic health.” for these workers. The CARES Act and most state and federal programs he stated disqualifies entire households if anyone is undocumented leaving out large numbers of citizens and permanent residents.
A two-day summit has been planned by OIA for February 2021 as the new LA Immigrant Essential Workers Initiative “focused on day laborers, domestic workers and DACA recipients entering the workforce” with the emission for essential workers’ legislation and reforms.
chief of the Wage Enforcement Program and Investigative Division at the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs,Rose Basmadzhyan, said, “A lot of times workers are afraid to come forward.” She encouraged anonymous tips to mitigate retaliation fears. Find out more about at 800 593-8222 and also at https://dcba.lacounty.gov/.
Director of GAIN (Greater Avenues for Independence),Monica Nguyen’s program under the county Department of Public Social Services, helps more than 3.5 million people, in 19 languages. They provide resources in federal state and county-funded programs for people who receive cash assistance through CalWorks. To access GAIN assistance call (866) 292-4246 or and dpss.lacounty.gov. CalFresh (https://www.getcalfresh.org) is also , “an excellent opportunity to get help.”
Program attorney for Bet Tzedek’s employee rights legal services, Yvonne Garcia Medrano, encouraged seeking help i fyo are facing any sort of wage, retaliation or work related challenges. Check out https://www.bettzedek.org/ .