Out of the Shadows: Shedding Light on the Working Conditions of Immigrant Women in Tucson
Bacon Immigration Law & Policy Program, James E. Rogers College of Law, and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, University of Arizona, 2014
53 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2014
Date Written: September 3, 2014
This report on the working conditions of immigrant women in Tucson, Arizona, is based on one year of field research, between April 2012 and March 2013. Researchers collected ninety surveys from low-wage immigrant women workers and conducted twenty-nine interviews of workers, government officials, and community leaders. The survey respondents capture a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. The women labored in a range of workplaces, including private homes, residential care facilities, hotels, offices, restaurants, factories, and retail stores.
This report identifies five concerns repeatedly described by the women surveyed and interviewed: they are underpaid, overworked, unsafe, abused, and exploited. Section I of the report describes why these findings are hardly surprising. After describing methodology and findings in Sections II through IV, the final section of this report offers three types of reforms to address the concerns identified. First, the data reveal the need to expand the coverage of employment laws, so that the workers described in this report are no longer excluded from many of the existing legal protections from workplace abuse. Second, this research illustrates the need to enforce existing laws, as many of the incidents described in this report are currently illegal, yet the law on the books is not enforced on the ground. Finally, the surveys and interviews document the need to improve the laws on the books, so that the legal system itself does not perpetuate poverty and exploitation of low-income and immigrant workers.
Keywords: immigration, employment, workers’ rights, empirical research
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