Like Ana, we need YOU more than ever

August 04, 2017

For immigrant workers, there is a chill in the air; that is if they can find the courage to leave their homes. They are afraid that while they go about their lives, their work, they could be the next Ana Duarte (Ana's details have been modified to protect her identity). Today, we are asking you to support the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) as part of a massive effort to counter the anti-progressive, anti-worker Trump Administration agenda by helping to raise $5,000 in the first 30 days of our 2017 membership drive.

Click here to donate $20, $50, $100, or what ever you can to help lead the labor movement of the 21st century.

Ana, like virtually every immigrant worker, labored hard so she could have a better life for herself and her family. Originally from El Salvador, a country so riddled with violence, her father was murdered by gang members, Ana and her two children fled to the U.S. to avoid a similar fate. Here, Ana began work cleaning office buildings for a small company, and according to a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on immigrant labor, helped the state become a booming center of economic growth. And she worked hard every day – until she fell.

Working one night, Ana was high enough on a step ladder cleaning a window that her fall broke her ankle, requiring surgery. Ana’s employer, like all employers, should have carried workers’ compensation insurance for its workers, but that was something they couldn’t be bothered with, maybe because it would have forced them to play on a level playing field with other cleaning companies, maybe they just didn’t care.

Seeing Ana as a liability, her employer arranged to meet with her to discuss under-the-table compensation for her workplace injury, but just moments after the meeting concluded, Ana was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), tipped off by an “unknown party” who knew exactly where she would be and when. It was every immigrant worker’s worst fear realized.

In ICE custody for over a month, Ana wondered what would happen to her and her children. How long could she depend on her friends to take care of her two daughters? Did her employer call ICE to avoid having to take responsibility for her injury? Will she ever get full care for her injury so she could work again? And as news of Ana’s detainment spread, countless of her fellow immigrant workers asked MassCOSH, “If I’m hurt on the job like Ana and speak up for my rights, would ICE come for me next?”

Ana’s arrest threatens everything MassCOSH has worked for over the past four decades. Workers cannot be afraid to raise health and safety concerns with their employer; they cannot be afraid to report stolen wages or harassment. We cannot allow companies to take advantage of this recent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment to create a climate of fear where immigrant workers accept dangerous workplace hazards and below legal wages because they are afraid they will be retaliated against. However, that’s exactly what’s happening, and we need your help to avoid a race to the bottom where immigrant workers face endless abuse, and good job providers are driven out of business.

If the first half of 2017 has shown us anything, it’s that we are not living in normal times. MassCOSH is now drawing up action plans should ICE officials raid our Dorchester or East Boston office looking for workers. We are also reviewing funding plans if the Trump budget cuts become a reality and the OSHA grants that MassCOSH greatly relies on to provide life-saving trainings vanish. There is even talk to eliminate the Americorps program, adversely affecting our ability to grow our Teens Lead @ Work program for young workers. But with your help, we will resist and persist.

The Trump Administration can create countless obstacles to slow the fight for good, safe jobs, but they cannot break our joint dedication to progressive values. Today, we are asking you to help counter all this uncertainty by joining MassCOSH’s Sustaining Member program with an automatic monthly gift. Sustaining members’ monthly gifts allow MassCOSH to better predict the resources it can dedicate to issues like Ana’s in a way that one-time donations just do not allow. Joining our sustaining members is an easy way to do your part in preserving decades of progress we have worked so hard to achieve together.

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/masscosh

After more than four decades, MassCOSH is in the fight of its life. But with forward thinking, solid planning, and you, we can survive this [hopefully passing] era of unprecedented challenges. Please use the enclosed envelope or make your donation online by visiting masscosh.org today.

In Solidarity,

Jodi Sugerman-Bozan
MassCOSH Executive Director

PS.     MassCOSH is more effective than ever. We are making more news headlines, training more workers, and reaching more youth. However, proposed budget cuts threaten to gut MassCOSH, with the goal of dealing a fatal blow to workers’ rights. We need you, right now, to join MassCOSH and help sustain the movement to help make up for government grants we can no longer count on.