Protect and defend Latino workers

Trump administration's budget cuts would hurt Latino workers who are already suffering

New NCLR poll finds that predominantly Spanish-speaking and low-income Latino voters face serious challenges in the workplace, including lack of training and wage-related violations

Key findings

  • Nearly one in four of Latino workers reporting getting no orientation or training, with a lack of training higher for low-wage workers at 28%.
  • One in 10 reported having been paid late, and a slightly higher share (12%) reported not being paid what they are owed.
  • One in three indicated that they had some knowledge of health or safety risks in the workplace, but only 4% of indicated that they had taken steps to report the problem.
  • Nearly one in two who suffered an injury or illness on the job said they were not compensated for lost wages and had to absorb the medical costs themselves.

"Imagine if you took a job and you were told 40% of the time—four times out of 10—there might be a problem with your pay,” said Sylvia Manzano, Principal at Latino Decisions. "It might be late, it might bounce, it might not be complete of what you’re owed."

That is the case for a worrying number of Latino voters, as shown in the results of a new poll released this week.

The poll, conducted by NCLR and Latino Decisions, measured workplace concerns among Latino voters at a time when the Trump administration’s proposed slash-and-burn budget threatens fundamental workforce protections.

“Among those who have had problems with their pay, 12% said that they never received the money that they were owed. Among lower-earners, 15% said that they never got the money they were owed, and 10% of those in the median and above group said they never got the amount of money that they were owed,” Manzano added.

Poll of Latino Voters Demonstrates Workplace Concerns as New Trump Budget Threatens to Slash Critical Workforce Programs
Poll of Latino Voters Demonstrates Workplace Concerns as New Trump Budget Threatens to Slash Critical Workforce Programs

“The Trump budget has a lot of implications for families,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of NCLR’s Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, referencing the $2.5 billion proposed cut to the Department of Labor (DOL), which would threaten many programs and protections for Latino and other low-income workers.

“The weakening of the DOL will have a devastating impact on Latinos who, as you may know, are the largest and fastest growing segment of the workforce,” Rodriguez added.

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The poll also found that there is a large information gap over unemployment benefits, particularly among Latino workers earning less than $40,000 a year—35% had no idea who they would speak to if they were laid off and needed the benefits to support their family.

“The recession really decimated families’—especially Hispanic families’ and the community’s wealth and savings,” said Lindsay Daniels, Associate Director of Economic Policy at NCLR. “Latino households’ wealth fell 66% between 2005 and 2009, and even though the national economy is recovering, this recovery has been uneven between Latinos and the rest of the population.”

Rachel Deutsch, Senior Staff Attorney for Worker Justice, Center for Popular Democracy, described steps that are being taken across the country to protect the rights of Latino and other low-wage workers. These include ensuring that Spanish-language material is available to workers, confidentiality is upheld for complainants, and that employers cannot call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on an employee or their family in retaliation when a workplace issue is reported.

These poll numbers show how important it is to maintain and strengthen federal policies that protect the welfare and workplace conditions of American workers. We will continue to work with our Affiliates to protect and defend Latinos and create opportunities for their success.