Immigrant Workers’ Health and Safety



In 2001, over 50 community-based organizations, immigrant advocates, unions, health care providers, university-based researchers and educators, and local and state agencies came together to form WISH. The Coalition’s main goals were to:

  • develop strategies and policy recommendations to improve working conditions and reduce work-related injuries and illnesses among California’s immigrant workforce.
  • develop a network of organizations that provide training and support around health and safety issues. The network served to share strategies, build skills and develop and exchange materials and other information.

WISH developed a report titled, “Improving Health and Safety Conditions for California’s Immigrant Workers” and organized a conference to discuss the policy recommendations and obtain broader input, provided training to members, served as a forum to exchange strategies and information, and worked jointly to implement some of the recommendations related to language access barriers for immigrant workers.

LOHP facilitated a participatory process of developing policy recommendations to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses among California’s immigrant workforce. Over a nine-month period, three meetings were held in Northern California and one in Southern California, with the purpose of identifying strategies and recommendations that WISH would want to promote. WISH formed a Policy Committee that was involved in reviewing the input received at the four meetings and drafting the recommendations, which are presented in WISH’s report.

In October 2002, WISH convened a statewide conference to share the information the coalition had gathered and get input on the recommendations. The conference was attended by almost 100 people who included WISH members and a broader audience representing community organizations, immigrant advocates, unions, resource organizations, researchers and local and state agencies. The final report included modifications based on the input received at the conference.

The policy recommendations are organized into the following recommendations for action:

  • Strengthen state programs
  • Support workplace efforts
  • Promote local community action
  • Involve immigrant workers
  • Improve data collection
  • Take legislative action
  • Coordinate efforts

Many new collaborations have grown out of the WISH Coalition, including partnerships with domestic worker and day labor programs throughout the state.  LOHP continues to provide technical assistance and training with immigrant organizations that formed part of WISH.


Suzanne Teran