Many New Brunswick residents work in poor conditions exacerbated by extreme weather induced by climate change, often in perma-temporary positions for low pay. Recent immigrants, many undocumented, flock to “temp towns” like New Brunswick, where the population is 56% Latinx and agencies hire with a nod and wink. Inadequate training and unsafe employer practices force laborers to work in dangerous temperatures.
As the “hub city” for tristate-area transportation and low-wage jobs, New Brunswick has historically attracted large immigrant groups unable to secure better-paying jobs due to xenophobia: nineteenth-century Irish canal builders, twentieth-century Hungarian factory workers, and twenty-first century Latinx service workers. Employers have capitalized on language barriers and labor availability to exploit workers.
New Labor supports, educates, and organizes workers, operating the Latino Occupational Safety and Health Initiative and advocating for climate change protections in labor law.
Our Point of View
Our team acknowledges the deep interconnectivity between historical inequalities, environmental injustice, and the importance of participating in collective action to improve working conditions. Through this project, we have learned more about the historical infrastructure and demographics that have led immigrants, especially the Latinx community, to face the worst of climate change. We hope that this project will amplify our community partner’s message and reflect their political agency, while inspiring civic engagement.
—Rutgers University-New Brunswick Department of History
New Labor supports, educates, and organizes workers while fighting to improve conditions of workplace health and safety, and participating in activities that create hyperlocal solidarity between the environmental and worker justice movements. Be it through learning exchanges between low-wage immigrant workers and environmental activities, or fighting for statewide initiatives to create worker/climate protections where there are none, New Labor creates relationships to make change because they believe that we are all in this together: climate justice is worker justice.