Labor Statement on Support for “A Day Without Immigrants”

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Labor for Our Revolution statement in Support of “A Day Without Immigrants”  

Millions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who lead hard working and productive lives, are also union members.

Donald Trump launched his political campaign in 2015 with a racist attack on Mexican immigrants, painting them as rapists and murderers. He made attacks on our Muslim sisters and brothers his political trademark — even going so far as to propose a religious test for immigration. This kind of race baiting and immigrant bashing has a long history in our country – a consistent attempt by business elites to divide working class people in order to advance their pro-corporate agenda.

As leaders of the unions who supported Bernie Sanders for president, we refuse to go down that road of hatred, resentment and divisiveness. We will march and stand with our sister and brother immigrant workers against the terror tactics of the Trump administration.

We are a nation of immigrants. Every generation and every race and ethnic group has seen attempts to divide the working class based on race and ethnic origin. Together we say NO to the politics of division! We call on Trump and his supporters to end the attacks on immigrant workers!

On May 1, 2017 millions of immigrant workers will engage in public resistance to the Trump administration. In some places that resistance will include labor strikes and boycotts. Millions will march in cities and towns all across the country. We pledge to support these protests and will urge our organizations’ leaders and members to participate in whatever way we can.

Workers, united, will never be defeated!

In Solidarity,

Larry Hanley, President, Amalgamated Transit Union

Chris Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America

RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director, National Nurses United

Peter Knowlton, General President, United Electrical Workers

Note. A DSA statement on Cosecha and the Dia Sin Inmigrantes will follow.

For more information, contact Labor for Our Revolution coordinator Rand Wilson laborforourrevolution@gmail.com or (617) 949-9720

Labor, Socialists and Immigration

Evans_Signage_HumanoIlegal.pngDr. Duane E. Campbell, April 19, 2017

In spite of the economic boon for the wealthy, working people in the U.S. have yet to receive a significant improvement in their standard of living for over 30 years. At the same time, democratic forces are once again confronted with anti immigrant campaigns- this time fostered and promoted by a President of the U.S.

As socialists, we stand with and among the US working class in opposition to the rule of the transnational corporations and their exploitation of the economy and their despoliation of our lives, our society and our environment.

We are currently experiencing a major restructuring of the global economy directed by the transnational corporations to produce profits for their corporate owners. The impoverishment of the vast majority of people in pursuit of profits for a small minority has pushed millions to migrant in search of food, jobs, and security. Global capitalism produces global migration. Along with wars NAFTA and other “Free Trade” deals each produce a new waves of migration.

Socialists support the rights of working people to organize, to form unions, and to protect their rights and to advance their interests. Unions have always been an important part of how socialists seek to make our economic justice principles come alive. Working people- gathered together and exploited in the capitalist workplace-are well positioned to fight their common exploitation. Continue reading

Needed H 1-B Visa Reform

News from EPIH-1B visa needs reform to make it fairer to migrant and American workers

A new EPI fact sheet outlines the major flaws in the H-1B visa program and the ways in which it can be reformed to make it fairer for both U.S. workers and guestworkers.

The H-1B program provides temporary, nonimmigrant visas for college-educated workers and fashion models from abroad. While it is important to attract high-skilled workers to the United States—many of whom contribute greatly to the economy—the H-1B program has been hijacked. The biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B program are not high tech, innovative companies, but are outsourcing companies that use the visas to replace thousands of U.S. workers with much-lower-paid H-1B workers and have a business model designed to send tech jobs abroad to lower-cost countries.

“The H-1B visa is supposed to bring the best-and-brightest workers to the United States,” said EPI Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research Daniel Costa. “But the truth is businesses like it because it provides a steady supply of workers who they can legally underpay and who can’t speak up about wage and hour abuses.”

H-1B workers are underpaid and easily exploited, as the visa itself is owned and controlled by the employer so an H-1B worker who is fired or laid off for any reason becomes instantly deportable. H-1B workers often pay large fees to labor recruiters, which means that many arrive essentially indentured to their employer, fearing retaliation or termination if they speak out about workplace abuses or unpaid wages.

Simple reforms that could fix the H-1B program include:

  • Requiring employers to recruit U.S. workers and offer jobs to any equally or better qualified U.S. workers before hiring H-1B workers.
  • Requiring employers who cannot find qualified U.S. workers to pay the H-1B workers they hire no less than the local average wage for the job.
  • Providing the Labor Department with additional legal authority to crack down on abuses and exploitation of U.S. and H-1B workers, and to conduct random audits of H-1B employers.
  • Increasing funding to the Labor Department to hire additional agents in the Wage and Hour Division and better scrutinize H-1B applications.
  • Providing H-1B workers with additional protections against employer retaliation and workplace abuse.
  • Ban employers from hiring additional H-1B workers if they have violated any wage and hour, labor, or immigration laws.
  • Reforming the H-1B lottery to prioritize higher-paying employers and non-H-1B-dependent employers.

See related work on Immigration

Continue reading

Jobs at $20 Per Hour

by Denis Drew

Neither rust-belt Americans nor Chicago gang-bangers are interested in up-to-date kitchens or two vans in the driveway.  Both are most especially not interested in $10 an hour jobs.

Both would be very, very especially interested in $20 an hour jobs.

80 years ago Congress forgot to put criminal enforcement in the NLRA(a).  Had union busting been a felony all along we would be like Germany today.  Maybe at some point our progressives might note that collective bargaining is the T-Rex in the room — or the missing T-Rex.

The money is there for $20 jobs.  49 years — and half the per capita income ago — the fed min wage was $11.  Since then the bottom 45% went from 20% overall income share to 10% — while the top 1% went from 10% to 20%.

How to get it — how to get collective bargaining set up? States can make union busting a felony without worrying about so-called federal preemption:
+ a state law sanctioning wholesalers, for instance, using market power to block small retail establishments from combining their bargaining power could be the same one that makes union busting a felony — overlap like min wage laws — especially since on crim penalties the fed has left nothing to overlap since 1935
+ First Amendment right to collectively bargain cannot be forced by the fed down (the current) impassable road.  Double ditto for FedEx employees who have to hurdle the whole-nation-at-once certification election barrier
+ for contrast, examples of state infringement on federal preemption might be a state finding of union busting leading to a mandate for an election under the fed setup — or any state certification setup for labor already covered by NLRA(a) or RLA(a).  (Okay for excluded farm workers.) Continue reading

Unions Organize to Defend Immigrants

Health Care Workers Bring Sanctuary Efforts to their Union.

http://www.labornotes.org/2017/04/health-care-workers-bring-sanctuary-movement-union

Also: Unions Unite to Build the May Day Efforts.

http://www.labornotes.org/2017/03/momentum-builds-may-day-strikes

California Unions Organize to Defend Immigrant Workers

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/california-unions-move-to-resist-trumps-anti-immigrant-actions/

400,000 Workers Plan to Strike May 1

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A Day Without Immigrants” May Day Strike Announced

Over 400,000 Workers Commit to Strike in Press Conference with Immigrant Rights Organizations and Unions

Washington, DC – Immigrant Rights Organizations, Workers Centers and Unions launch a national strike billed as a “day without immigrants” to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class people of color. Hundreds of thousands of workers have already pledged to strike in what organizers expect to be the largest national strike since the Megamarches of 2006.

Speakers at the press conference included Erika Andiola as well as representatives of Movimiento Cosecha, the SEIU United Service Workers West, and the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

“May 1st is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson from Movimiento Cosecha. “We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; the right to travel freely to visit our loved ones abroad, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect. After years of broken promises, raids, driving in fear of being pulled over, not being able to bury our loved ones, Trump is just the final straw. As we saw during the spontaneous strikes on February 16th, our people are ready.”

Tens of thousands of members of the SEIU United Service Workers West have pledged to strike on May 1st, to demand an end to the criminalization of black and brown communities, an end to raids and deportations, and an end to worker exploitation. “The policies of the Trump administration are motivated by cruelty. They villainize black and brown people and call us rapists and violent criminals. They break apart immigrant families and separate parents from their children, and for no reason,” said Denise Solis, first vice-president of the SEIU USWW. “We are shutting it down on May 1st to stand up to these policies and show that most Americans don’t support cruelty and racism.” High School and College students, as part of the Sanctuary Campus movement, will also be joining the May 1st Day Without Immigrants Strike with mass walkouts.

“I’m a cafeteria worker at one of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies, Intel, and my coworkers and I organized and won significant raises and healthcare. Now, we’re coming together with hundreds more cafeteria workers on May Day to stand united,” said Cristina Moreno, member of UNITE HERE Tech Cafeteria Workers and cashier at Intel, 20 years of service in tech cafeterias. “Immigrants like us are the backbone of the Valley’s tech industry, and we won’t tolerate Trump and his racist policies.”

Continue reading

Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the Legacy

Celebrate Labor History

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“When we are really  honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us.  So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are. ..I am convinced that the truest act of courage..is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.”
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)

by Duane Campbell

On March 31, 2017, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez.

Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.

The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve real  immigration reform in the nation.

UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said. “The UFW will not rest until the President’s deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.” http://www.UFW.org

Let us be clear. Chavez was religious, but he was not a saint. Neither were the growers, their Teamster collaborators, nor corporate agribusiness saints. Celebrations should not be about hero worship or uncritical praise, nor should we ignore the present oppression of farm workers in the U.S. Continue reading