Monday, 16 February 2009

Economic Recovery : what are the values that underpin it?

'The idea that immigrants workers deserve protection simply as a matter of human decency can be hard to sell in hard times. It is just as valid to make the pragmatic case. After the bottom drops out of the economy, raise the floor.' New York Times, 15 Feb 08

Last week, I highlighted the views of Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass on e-verify, software for employers to check to see the migration status of prospective employees. Kass was upset that a provision in the Stimulus Package requiring employers to use E-Verify was taken out. Well, the editorial team of the New York Times strongly disagrees with Kass. Kass wants employers to use E-Verify for the purpose of keeping undocumented workers out of 'American' jobs. The New York Times suggests the software is prone to errors which result in documented workers getting fired/not hired and wants a labor strategy that focuses instead on the support of all workers. In contrast to Kass, the New York Times doesn't see undocumented workers as a threat to urban economies and instead encourages government to 'fight back against abuses that make wages and job conditions worse for everyone.' To show what it means, it gives an example from Los Angeles - the Clean Carwash Campaign.

Migrant workers, labor rights, employers' responsibilities are key urban issues. The Chicago and New York perspectives on them remind us that, for both the White House and Westminster, successful Recovery has to be about more than getting people into jobs. It also is about values, social justice, and human dignity.

No comments: