Oct. 14, 2004 – Citing studies that show more Latino workers die on the job in the United States than workers of any other racial or ethnic group, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced the creation of a new safety panel Monday aimed specifically at Latino workers.
In Ilinois alone, 27 Latino workers died of work-related injuries in 2002. The panel, made up of prominent Latino leaders, labor organizers and academics, will begin meeting immediately, and will issue recommendations by the end of the year. Blagojevich said the recommendations will be used to create new legislation and supplement existing laws.
"As the son of an immigrant steel worker, I feel I have a unique responsibility to try to help other immigrants who haven't been quite as lucky as my dad to get better paying jobs that provide the necessary training that can keep you safe in the workplace," said Blagojevich, who was recently criticized by the state legislature's Latino caucus for not hiring enough people of color to the state government.
Workersâ€™ advocates say they hope Illinois will become a national model for immigrant workers rights and safety issues.