A project of the Center for Community Change

Worker’s Rights

May Day Redux: Pics, Videos and Stories from May 1st

dc-white-house2Friday was an aMAYzing day for me (see what I did there?). Even though I wasn’t in the streets marching with my compañeros, I was here in the office with a bird’s eye view of May Day marches across the country.

I watched as literally thousands of text messages poured in from folks, telling us why they were marching. You can check out some of these messages from my post on Friday. (I didn’t post all of them – but what you see on the post is pretty representative of the tone of the messages).

I received photos, stories, videos and excited phone calls from people on the ground from Los Angeles to New York. It was inspiring to see all of the momentum, energy and diversity of the crowds that gathered in cities everywhere. Even my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina hosted an event – which makes me enormously proud.

Even though I was live-blogging a few of the events, I have since received some great pictures, videos and stories from the day and wanted to share them with folks. But be sure check out my previous posts from Friday – Boston, Newark, NJNew York City; Chicago; Washington, DC and Charlotte, NC.

Keep reading for my May Day Redux!

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Immigration and Unions

derechos-trabajadoresYesterday, the New York Times featured a great editorial on exactly why last week’s endorsement of Immigration Reform by the nation’s two largest labor unions makes sense. Lots of sense.

The very idea that unions would endorse legalizing illegal immigrants, as the country’s two big labor federations did this month, strikes some as absurd. Americans have a hard enough time competing with cheap foreign labor. Why undercut them within our own borders? Especially with millions of citizens losing their jobs?

I’m no stranger to these types of questions and arguments. I get plenty of folks here on the blog who shout that the approach I push will cost American citizens their jobs. However, its nice to have somebody like the New York Times back up my argument that enforcing workers’ rights across the board (by bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows) will help raise wages and working conditions for everyone. Which, in turn, helps our ailing economy.

The unions, at least, understand that there is a better way. They see immigration reform as an issue of worker empowerment. If undocumented immigrants undercut wages and job conditions for Americans — and many do, by tolerating low pay and abuse and bolstering an off-the-books system that robs law-abiding employers and taxpayers — it is because they cannot stand up for their rights.

“Workers don’t depress wages. Unscrupulous employers do,” said Terence O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. Unemployment in his industry is above 21 percent. Nearly two million construction workers are out of work. So what does Mr. O’Sullivan want? Reform that allows immigrants to legalize. “If we can free them so they can come out of the shadows, we can not only improve their lives, but all workers’ lives,” he said.

Immigration reform is an integral part of our economic recovery. Unions, who represent the TRUE American workers, understand that, the administration understands that and the American public understands that. Now, we must make sure Congress does too

Also, click here to share the editorial with your friends and colleagues. This is big news, we need to make sure folks know.

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One Step Closer: Labor Unions Endorse Immigration Reform

The New York Times reported today that two of the most important Labor unions in the country, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, are endorsing President Obama’s push for comprehensive immigration reform. This is great news and immigrant rights advocates are excited that our friends in the Labor movement are joining the fight.change-to-win1

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“The labor movement will work together to make sure that the White House as well as Congress understand that we speak about immigration reform with one voice,” Mr. Sweeney (president of the AFL-CIO) said in a statement to The New York Times.

Folks in labor unions understand that in order to ensure that workers’ rights are enforced across the board, we must level the playing field and bring the millions of undocumented immigrant workers into the system and out of the shadows.

A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials said they agreed with Change to Win leaders that, with more than seven million unauthorized immigrants already working across the nation, legalizing their status would be the most effective way to protect labor standards for all workers.

“It shows how important the issue is to the representatives of American workers,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an advocate group.

This is great news and we applaud both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win for their brave move to support Immigration reform this year.

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