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Immigrant workers’ rights promoted

By Jennifer Case

Oct. 23, 2003 9:00 p.m.

At the 25th anniversary celebrating UCLA’s Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Program, keynote speaker Assemblyman
Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, urged audience members on Thursday
afternoon to become more involved in the fight supporting immigrant
workers’ rights.

“We need to reach out to immigrant workers so they may
exercise their rights. Despite whether they are documented or not,
they should receive the same basic rights,” Koretz said to an
audience of more than 50 people in Hershey Hall.

LOSH officials urged students to get involved as well.

“UCLA students can get involved with this issue. We have
several students on our team who are dedicated to the fight because
their parents may have suffered on the job,” said Marianne
Brown, director of UCLA LOSH.

Brown said immigrant workers continue to suffer, despite
progress that has been made in the field of immigrant rights.

Koretz authored a bill in 2002 that will look into the lack of
timely reporting of accidents and deaths that occurred while on the
job. The bill will also provide for the translation of many
injury-related documents, so non-English speaking workers will be
able to submit reports. He believes that workers who have limited
English speaking ability are incapable of completing the required
documents or giving needed information to English-speaking

Koretz presented evidence released this year that between 1996
and 2000, the number of injuries on the job for all workers in
California was down 24 percent. However, the number of injuries for
immigrant workers was up 17 percent.

“We need to work to turn those numbers around,”
Koretz said.

Members of LOSH said they were concerned about newly elected
governor Arnold Schwarzenegger because he has promised he would
repeal a bill that would allow for undocumented immigrants to get
driver’s licenses.

“(Schwarzenegger) may be receptive to our fight, but he
needs to hear all of our voices loudly and clearly,” Koretz

Audience members responded positively to Koretz’s speech
as he praised UCLA LOSH’s efforts.

“I want to commend UCLA LOSH for 25 years of work that has
helped make a positive change in the workplace,” Koretz

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Jennifer Case
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