USW, Labor Organizations Call on Pa. Senate to Reject E-Verify

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel: (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (June 25) – District 10 of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, which represents more than 40,000 USW members in Pennsylvania, along with other labor organizations, is calling on the Pennsylvania State Senate to reject legislation that would mandate construction industry employers use the federal E-Verify system to determine if their workers are eligible for employment.

The legislation, House Bill 1170, which passed the Pennsylvania House last week, would penalize companies that fail to subject employees to the E-Verify system, which both workers and employees have condemned as costly and riddled with errors.

“Passing this legislation would be a mistake that would hurt workers, companies and all Pennsylvanians,” said USW International Vice President Fred Redmond. “It could result in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of workers unfairly losing their jobs, and it would be another unnecessary expense, which would disproportionately harm small businesses.”

Requiring construction companies to use the system could also open them to legal risk if system blunders prompted them to wrongly fire workers. In addition, E-Verify creates privacy and security risks as the federal government compiles and maintains sensitive information on all workers.

“The system is not fool-proof – it is flawed. There is significant potential for error, which means that even folks with legal authorization to work could be erroneously denied employment and spend months trying to correct the problem,” said Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe, director of USW District 10. “The bill would also result in widespread misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees, which would reduce wages and benefits and hurt our economy all across Pennsylvania.”

Joining the USW in opposing the bill were the Pittsburgh chapters of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), both of which are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

“If passed into law, this bill would make working conditions even more exploitive and dangerous for immigrant workers in construction and will actually worsen the problem of misclassification of workers,” said Guillermo Perez, president of the Pittsburgh chapter of LCLAA. “This measure will be bad for the state economy, bad for small business, and bad for all workers in the construction sector.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

 

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