Press Release Archive

Faith Leaders Affirm Boycott of Wendy’s; Deliver Letter Demanding Rights For Tomato Farmworkers

DES PLAINES, IL (July 9, 2017) — 75 faith and labor leaders from Interfaith Worker Justice, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers were joined by working people and allies from across Chicagoland in a spirited Boycott Wendy’s picket and rally this morning in Des Plaines.

The action included the delivery to the store manager of an open letter to Wendy’s President and CEO Todd Penegor urging him to join every other major fast-food and retail chain in the nation by signing onto the Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program and committing to better working conditions and human rights for the farmworkers who supply the mega-corporation’s tomatoes.

The rally included a number of testimonies from fai...

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Trump Administration moves to kill vital health and safety training program

CHICAGO (June 27, 2017) — "On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies heard testimony from Labor Secretary Alex Acosta regarding the FY2018 budget request for the U.S. Department of Labor. Despite Secretary Acosta’s assurances that the Administration is committed to the Department’s mission to defend the welfare of working people, the details of the budget changes to DoL speak for themselves.

“These budget cuts, amounting to a 20% reduction to the department’s overall budget, would make working people less safe and prevent them from exercising their rights to recourse when they face abuse at work.

“The bulk o...

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U.S. House must reject latest attack on Sanctuary movement

CHICAGO (May 25, 2017) — "On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved HR 2431, a piece of legislation sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) that would allow states and localities to enact and enforce immigration laws in line with federal statutes and in defiance of Sanctuary legislation intended to protect undocumented people from unjust detention and deportation.

"Overwhelming evidence shows that when local law enforcement openly cooperate with ICE, the community as a whole is less safe. Anyone with a modicum of common sense should understand that if undocumented people are afraid to report crimes they have witnessed or been a victim of for fear of deportation, police are unable to properly do their jobs.Read more

The Working Families Flexibility Act will mean less flexibility and less pay for working people

CHICAGO (May 3, 2017) — “As early as today, Congressional Republicans will introduce the Working Families Flexibility Act, a bill that would give working people the opportunity to opt out of overtime pay in exchange for comp time off. This is a false and unnecessary choice: Working people need both.

“Like many pleasant-sounding Republican initiatives, this law is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing, designed to enrich corporations and their executives at the expense of working people.

“Should this law be enacted, working people who opt for comp time will have no guarantee that their requests to actually use that comp time will be honored. In fact, employers can simply decide on ...

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Working people nationwide will use Workers’ Memorial Day to highlight Trump’s draconian cuts

CHICAGO (April 27, 2017) — Affiliates of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) have organized a series of actions from coast to coast on Friday, April 28 in commemoration of Workers’ Memorial Day. The actions are intended to call attention to heavy-handed cuts proposed by the White House to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency dedicated to protecting the safety of working people on the job.

“Every single day, 150 working people in the United States leave for work and never come home,” said Laura Barrett, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “With nationwide actions today, we ho...

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After Tyson Agreement, The Fight For Worker Justice At Poultry Processing Plants Must Continue

CHICAGO (April 26, 2017)  “Tyson’s recent agreement committing to improve worker safety, compensation, and the right to organize offer working people the opportunity to organize for their rights opens a door for the continued worker-led campaign for dignity and respect in poultry processing plants in Arkansas and across the nation,” said Magaly Licolli, Executive Director of Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center.

“Given the corporation’s history of serious health and safety violations and its lack of accountability to workers’ rights, the Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center (NWAWJC) will be ready to hold Tyson accountable to their commitments to workers’ rights the mo...

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Statement from Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Laura Barrett on Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE)

CHICAGO (April 25, 2017) — “The Department of Homeland Security will launch a new office on Wednesday to document and track crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, as announced by the president during his first address to a joint session of Congress.

“Unfortunately, like most of the president’s policy during his first 100 days in the White House, the VOICE office is just another piece of red meat for the far-right ideologues who wrongly blame immigrants for the many serious challenges facing all working people in the United States today.

“In fact, the VOICE office will do much more harm to ...

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R. Alexander Acosta Disqualified Himself For Labor Secretary With Refusal To Answer Committee Questions

CHICAGO (March 30, 2017) — The following is a statement from Laura Barrett, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice:

“The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) will today decide whether R. Alexander Acosta’s nomination to lead the Department of Labor advances to the full Senate floor for a final vote. Despite objections by HELP Senate Democrats, Mr. Acosta’s nomination will most likely move forward.

“If so, the full Senate should reject Mr. Acosta’s nomination for Labor Secretary.

“Mr. Acosta’s vapid responses to Senators on the HELP Committee created more questions than they answered. D...

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Senate Bill Passage Will Mean More Deaths of Working People

Repeal of 45-year-old OSHA regulation will make American jobs less safe

The following is a statement from Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Laura Barrett:

“On Wednesday, the United States Senate voted along party lines to repeal a decades-old rule giving the Occup...

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Trump's Budget: A sellout of working people

Donald Trump promised to be a champion for working people. He lied.

Contact Ian Pajer-Rogers | ipajer-rogers[at]iwj[dot]org

The following is Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Laura Barrett’s response to proposed $2.5 billion budget cuts to the Department of Labor:

“The Trump Administration’s $2.5 billion in proposed cuts to the Department of Labor are in deep violation of the president’s campaign trail promises to be a champion for working people.

“Even a cursory review of which Department of Labor programs the Administration intends to cut or eliminate shows its true intentions to sell out the nationR...

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Puzder’s withdrawal proves that organizing will remain a powerful tool for working people in the Trump era


Contact: Ian Pajer-Rogers | ipajer-rogers[at]iwj[dot]org

CHICAGO (February 15, 2017) — The following is a statement from Laura Barrett, Executive Director at Interfaith Worker Justice:

“Today, the weeks of powerful, coordinated organizing by working people nationwide paid off as Andrew Puzder withdrew from consideration for Secretary of Labor less than 24 hours before his first confirmation hearing was scheduled to begin.

“This is a testament to the power of working people organizing in the face of injustice. Andrew...

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