[The San Francisco Labor Council passed this resolution on July 12, 2010. The Labor Council for Latin American Advance (LCLAA), a non-profit organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, passed its own version at its August national convention.]
WHEREAS: Thousands of U.S. union members have been fired as a result of the enforcement of employer sanctions against workers in the workplace, including 1200 janitors in Minneapolis, 300 janitors in Seattle, 475 janitors in San Francisco, as well as workers who have stood up to lead organizing drives into our unions, including 2000 sewing machine operators at American Apparel in Los Angeles, and
WHEREAS: Immigration reform bills in Washington, including the Schumer-Graham proposal, the REPAIR proposal by Senator Schumer and several other senators, and the CIR-ASAP proposal by Congressman Luis Gutierrez, all strengthen employer sanctions, which will cause more of our members to be fired through programs like E-Verify, the national ID card and employment verification, and will make it more difficult for unions to organize non-union workplaces by making immigrant workers even more vulnerable to firings, deportations and the denial of their rights through workplace enforcement, and
WHEREAS: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has said that that ”we need to make sure every worker in America - documented or undocumented - is protected by our labor laws.” and that we need immigration reform that “allows immigrants to be securely part of our country from day one-able to assert their legal rights, including the right to organize, without fear of retaliation,” and
WHEREAS: the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, and other similar agreements, and structural adjustment policies and other so-called economic reforms continue to boost corporate profits while creating massive poverty in countries like Mexico, El Salvador and others, and that as a result, millions of workers and farmers are displaced and have no alternative but to migrate in search of work, and therefore will continue to come to the United States to work, join our unions and participate in our organizing drives, and
WHEREAS: President Trumka has said that “the failures of our relationship with Mexico ... cannot be solved with guns and soldiers and fences. They must be addressed through an economic strategy for shared prosperity based on rising wages in both countries,” and
WHEREAS: the Mexican government fired 44,000 electrical workers and has tried to smash their union, the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME), and brought thousands of heavily armed police into Cananea to try to smash the 3-year strike of the Mineros, in both cases to create better conditions for giant corporations by breaking unions, privatizing workplaces and throwing workers out of their jobs, and that as a result many of those workers will be forced to come to the United States in order to find work and help their families survive, and
WHEREAS: the largest corporations and employer groups in the United States, including WalMart, Marriott, Smithfield, the Associated Building Contractors and others have sought to expand guest worker programs, forcing people to come to the United States only through those schemes that treat them as low wage workers with no rights, in conditions described as “Close to Slavery” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and
WHEREAS: our labor movement has called for basic reform of our immigration laws, and adopted a position at the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles in 1999 that demands the repeal of employer sanctions, immediate amnesty for all undocumented workers, protection of the right to organize for all workers, the strengthening of family reunification as the basis of immigration policy, and opposition to guest worker programs, and
WHEREAS: our labor movement believes that solidarity with workers fighting for their rights in Mexico and around the world is an important part of immigration reform,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council reiterates its support for the immigration position adopted by the AFL-CIO Convention in 1999, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council rejects all the proposals in Congress that promote the firing of immigrant workers, open the doors to new guest worker programs, and do not contain a program for the quick and inclusive legalization of undocumented workers, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council supports only those proposals for immigration reform that would force the renegotiation of NAFTA, CAFTA and all other trade agreements, in order to stop the enforced poverty that displaces communities abroad and to protect jobs in the United States, and will oppose any new trade agreements that cause such displacement and do not protect jobs, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council, supports the proposal for an alternative immigration reform bill made by the Dignity Campaign, because it is based on protecting the labor and human rights for all people, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council supports the SME and the Mineros, and calls on union members and working people to defend their rights by picketing the Mexican consulate and taking other supportive actions, and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council forwards this resolution for adoption to the California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, and to other local unions and central labor bodies.
Update, August 17, 2010: This resolution is sponsored by the Dignity Campaign, a group of organizations and individuals that have been meeting over the past year "to affirm the need for an immigration reform bill based on human rights."
For more information, or to endorse the campaign, contact: Renee Saucedo at La Raza Centro Legal (415-575-3500 and 415-553-3404, firstname.lastname@example.org), Lillian Galedo at Filipino Advocates for Justice (510-465 9876, email@example.com), Fred Hirsch (408-821-1394, firstname.lastname@example.org ), David Bacon (510-851-1589, email@example.com ), Bill Chandler at the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (601-968-5182, firstname.lastname@example.org ), Rosalinda Guillen at Community to Community (360-738-0893, email@example.com ) or Hamid Khan at South Asian Network (562-230-4578, firstname.lastname@example.org ).