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

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

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

Teachers’ Union Helps Immigrant and Refugee Children

Pages from im_uac-educators-guide_2016The American Federation of Teachers provides Tools and Resources to help protect immigrant youth and their families in case of ICE, immigration, raids and enforcement efforts.
Prepared by the American Federation of Teachers.
Excellent resources.
Downloadable copy  at aflcio.org/immigrationresources.

California Labor Steps up for Immigrants

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by Duane Campbell

The California Federation of Labor is holding a series of Immigrant Workers Rights and Defense Training around the state. I attended one today and they were well done. Immigrant rights activists and labor groups were working together. Contact the Labor Federation for sites. http://calaborfed.org Numerous unions including SEIU, Unite/Here and others are holding their own events.

Topics include:

Know Your Rights, Raids at the worksite, at home and in the community. E –Verify, Family Preparedness Plans, sample union contract language and efforts and guidelines for unions in protecting their members. There are good on line resources here http://iamerica.org/ : SEIU : http://www.seiu.org/justice-for-immigrants/

 

There will be a number of rallies, marches and events in California and states of the Southwest during the next week to recognize Cesar Chavez Day. Many of these will be connected to immigrants’ rights work. These offer DSA chapters opportunities to table and distribute DSA Immigrant Rights information including promotion of our work on the Dia Sin Inmigrantes.

In Sacramento the march will be March 25. Another march will be March 31 planned by the California Federation of Teachers.

For information contact antiracism@dsausa.org