Human rights panel hears testimonies about workplace abuses in Indiana

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Panel hears testimony from Rev. Dwight Gardner about the impact of worker abuse on families and the community.

GARY, Ind.—SEIU Healthcare Indiana members helped to organize and attended a Workers’ Human Rights Hearing, Thursday, July 31, at the Gary campus of Ivy Tech Community College, 1440 E. 35th Avenue.

The hearing was hosted by the Northwest Indiana Workers’ Human Rights Group, recently formed by union workers and social justice activists. The group formed to educate and organize in defense of workers’ rights that have increasingly come under attack since the passage of Indiana’s Right to Work legislation in 2012.

(L-R) Hospital worker Bernita Drayton and home care providers Kendra Bush and Annette Berry attend human rights panel hearing.

(L-R) Hospital worker Bernita Drayton and home care providers Kendra Bush and Annette Berry attend human rights panel hearing.

Workers and activists representing the unemployed, healthcare, warehouse and city workers testified about workplace abuses and how such abuses impact families and community conditions. Testimonies highlighted human rights violations such as wage theft, sexual harassment and discrimination.

The issues were heard by a panel of human rights advocates that included Merle E. Ratner, program director for the International Commission for Labor Rights; Renee Hatcher, Esq., Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Dr. Ruth Needleman, professor emeritus, Indiana University Labor Studies Dept., School of Social Work; and Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Gary, Ind.

“To hear the kinds of abuses workers experience on a daily basis was devastating,” said home care worker Kendra Bush. “Of course, we knew a lot of this was going on, but with the new Right to Work legislation in Indiana, we’re seeing more of these abuses. The attack on workers having a voice in the workplace has intensified.”

Indiana University Assistant Professor M. Thandabantu Iverson moderated the program.

 

 

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