Under COVID, our fights for worker dignity and safety are even more dire. Black, brown, and migrant workers have always been the first to experience unsafe conditions, wage theft, discrimination, retaliation, and mistreatment. Throughout the pandemic, their lives have been on the line while navigating these issues, unable to speak up without endangering their jobs AND their safety. Black workers in particular are more likely than others to be in front-line jobs, yet are simultaneously the hardest hit by the unemployment crisis.
Our communities depend on jobs to support our families. However, under Illinois’ arbitrary at-will employment standard, employers have extreme discretion to legally fire workers without care, and those who speak up for their rights at work are often the targets. New data shows that more than a third of fired workers have had been fired or let go for unfair reasons. These firings deeply undermine our public health efforts to protect the Black and brown communities that have suffered due to loss of life and financial instability.
The Secure Jobs Act, which was crafted by and for Black and brown working families, would ensure job stability by establishing clear termination standards to end the practice of unjust and arbitrary firings. Retaliation thrives with job instability, while our communities are hardly surviving COVID.