Worker Protection

For our community, not going to work is a sacrifice with real risks. While it is impossible to eliminate those risks entirely, we want to inform, prepare, and empower our communities to take measured risk together. This page offers information for how workers can protect themselves during the strike, but please keep in mind that Cosecha cannot provide legal advice and that these protocols are suggestions, not guarantees.

Cosecha is having a Worker Protection call this Sunday at 5:00 pm EST. Click here for more information.

What rights do workers have to participate in "A Day Without Immigrants"?

+ Right to Free Speech & Protest

Right to Free Speech & Protesting During Non-Work Hours - The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from restricting your right to free speech. This means that you have a right to participate in political protests, marches, and demonstrations. This right applies to all residents of the U.S., regardless of immigration status. In addition, You have the right to engage in political protests during non-work hours—for example, on your day off or on a day you are not scheduled to work. In most cases, your employer may not discipline you, fire you, or otherwise retaliate against you for engaging in political activity during your free time.

+ Right to Improve Working Conditions

Right to Improve Working Conditions (National Labor Relations Act) - The NLRA provides protections to workers who act together and participate in political activity designed to improve working conditions for all workers, depending on the form that action takes. Actions taken during work hours may be subject to restrictions imposed by lawful work rules that are applied equally by the employer to all employees. We encourage workers to outreach to local labor attorneys for support in drafting letters/petitions to notify employers of why you are taking action on May Day. Here is a toolkit in how you can draft a letter to your employer, as well as following best practices before, during, and after.

+ State Laws

Some state laws afford greater protections to workers who engage in political activity. For example, the California Labor Code protects employees who engage in political protests. Workers should ask local worker centers, local immigrant rights advocates, or their local American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) office for information about additional protections available.

+ Unions

Workers protected by union collective bargaining agreements should talk to their union representatives before participating in A Day Without Immigrants. Collective bargaining agreements that cover unionized workers may provide them better protection for engaging in political activity than other workers have. However, most union contracts include “NO-STRIKE” provisions that prohibit union members from engaging in strikes like A Day Without Immigrants. Click here to view the national and local unions that have endorsed Cosecha's May 1st strike.

+ Re-Verifying Work Authorization

If you take time off from work, that does not give your employer the right to ask that you reverify your employment eligibility by showing them your documents again. Nor may your employer single you out for reverification because you appear to be an immigrant or have participated with other immigrants in protests.

Our Community, Our Shield

Movimiento Cosecha believes that power lies in our community. We know that the risk workers take when striking on May 1st must be honored by the continued effort and energy from our communities across the country in the following days.

The below are local legal and informational resources and strategies our local circles have access to on the days prior to May 1st and in the aftermath. Our communities, allies, and partners will need to come together to advocate for those who have been retaliated against.

Local Resources

  • Worker Centers - Community-based, generally localized organizations addressing the needs of immigrant and low-wage workers.  This growing network of workers' centers is fighting to correct injustices to achieve economic and political rights, and is best equipped to provide local resources and information. Cosecha has already brought on board many worker centers to support with May 1st efforts, here is a link to a list of worker centers in the country.
  • Legal Support - Cosecha is working in partnership with legal support networks to provide legal services and consultation to those affected by “A Day Without Immigrants”. To access local support through the NLG’s Labor & Employment Committee, workers can contact them directly here . Or contact their circle coordinators to access this and other support available in their cities.

If you want to volunteer legal support to strike participants, please sign up here.

Local and National Strategies

  • Walk Backs - Before May 1st, circle members, faith leaders, family and friends of those striking should organize to accompany workers in their next regularly scheduled shift. We will demonstrate employers that workers have the support of community members. If you want to volunteer to walk back workers on May 2nd, please sign the pledge below and you will be assigned to a city and worker in need. If you want to organize a walk back in your community, please click here for more information.
  • Employer Boycott - In the event that your employer refuses to let you work, Cosecha’s digital team will be adding your employer name to a blacklist. Ask your community members and friends to share and publicly shame your employer for the actions they have taken. Cosecha believes in the power of immigrant labor and consumerism. We will ensure that we use that leverage against employers that retaliate against workers taking action. National and Local campaigns against employers will be activated to defend those who have been dismissed. Add an employer to this list.
  • NLRB Charge - The biggest tool that the NLRB charge provides workers is leverage. No employer wants to be investigated by the federal government, let alone have to hire a lawyer and spend money in a lengthy legal dispute over something they can easily solve. Talk to your circle’s worker protection lead and ask them to put you in contact with a local worker center or NLG volunteer employment attorney so they can start the process of reviewing your NLRB case. A simple call to your employer from an attorney may be enough to persuade them but be prepared to stay in a lengthy process, that is not guaranteed to be successful.

Cosecha Hotline

On May 2nd, we will be launching a hotline to allow workers who have faced retaliation to speak with volunteers who will intake their cases and provide them access to support from the Cosecha Network.

If you have been retaliated against by your employer as a result of your participation in “A Day Without Immigrants” strike, please dial 77537-APOYO.

If you want volunteer to provide support through the hotline, please fill out this form.

Strike Fund

Our May 1st strike fund is designed to provide participants with temporary protection in the event of work dismissal. Administered by the Social Good Fund in partnership with local organizations, it aims to cover basic short-term needs (including food, rent, and utilities) and legal fees for strike participants. Local worker protection teams report on their community’s needs to facilitate withdrawal for the fund and work to provide other resources to supported affected strikers past the 30-day coverage period offered by Cosecha. Learn more here.

Worker Protection Navigation: National Strategy | Guide for Workers | Guide for Allies | Strike Fund