In the fight for immigration reform and worker's rights, Mercado Workers, nearly 10,000 in the Bay Area's growing ethnic market retail industry, are at the front lines. Ninety-five percent of mercado employees in the Bay Area are recent immigrants from Mexico, South America and the Pacific Islands. Many of them are undocumented, and their status makes them, along with the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants in the United States awaiting much-needed immigration reform, vulnerable to abuse.
An overhaul of our immigration system would go a long way in offering protection to these workers. The practices of one mercado, Mi Pueblo, have been a particular focus of worker protest, and have attracted attention from local and federal agencies. This booklet introduces the people behind the Justice for Mercado Workers Campaign; it highlights their stories fighting for safety and dignity in the face of injury and intimidation, and how Bend the Arc is working to support them.