Monday, November 30, 2015

Safety Lapses and Deaths Amid a Building Boom in New York

An increase in fatalities and injuries has mostly affected undocumented immigrant laborers and far exceeds the rate of new construction.

By David W. Chen, New York Times
November 26, 2015

Manuel Colorado, a 36-year-old construction worker, was installing decking last year at a new building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he lost his balance and fell 19 feet to his death.

A few weeks later, a guest at the Dream Hotel in Midtown Manhattan heard someone screaming outside. Gurmeet Singh, a 58-year-old Indian immigrant doing facade work on the building, had tumbled eight stories off a scaffold and landed atop a sidewalk shed.

Twelve days after Mr. Singh’s death, Lukasz Stolarski, 33, plummeted 110 feet from the roof of an office building in Midtown where he had been attaching plywood to the parapet ledge.

New York City is experiencing a building boom that has transformed barren blocks and led to a frenzy of construction on commercial and residential buildings across all five boroughs. But that activity has come at a sobering cost: In the last two years, the number of workers hurt and killed in construction accidents has surged.

The rise in deaths and injuries — mostly among undocumented immigrant laborers — far exceeds the rate of new construction over the same period. It is stark evidence of the view increasingly held by safety inspectors, government officials and prosecutors, that safety measures at these job sites are woefully inadequate.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Statement by Miriam Padilla on the killing of her cousin Nohemi González in Paris

Distributed by the Freedom Socialist Party
November 25, 2015

Miriam Padilla

My cousin, Nohemi González, was one of the victims killed during the attacks in Paris on November 13. Nohemi was a bright shining light in our family, a proud, outspoken, and talented first-generation Mexican American and first-generation college student, studying abroad for a semester at a French school of design.

Miriam Padilla
For my family and me and those who knew my cousin, this act of violence is heartbreaking. And as part of an attack on unarmed civilians to publicize a political objective, apparently by ISIS, it is not only a personal tragedy, but also a crime against humanity.

But it is shameful that the terrorism in Paris is being used by politicians in imperialist countries like the U.S. and France as an excuse to call for slamming the doors on refugees who are desperately fleeing violence and repression in their own countries.

Nohemi herself was the child of immigrants. My aunt and uncle migrated from Mexico to give my cousins better opportunities to educate themselves and to give back to the community. In recent years many refugees have come to the U.S. from Mexico and all over Latin America to escape the violence of the drug wars or the consequences of economic policies imposed by the U.S. People leave their homelands to come to the U.S. in the hope of having a better future — sometimes in the hope of having any future at all.

It should be remembered that most of the victims of ISIS are themselves Muslims and Arabs, many of them independent young women like my cousin. Thousands of children are dying as the result of wars and terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.

My cousin wanted a more just and more humane world — just as many others of my generation do. I believe, and the Freedom Socialist Party believes, that workers and oppressed people can’t let violence like the terrible assaults in Paris turn us against each other. We need to do everything we can to make sure the outcome isn’t more racism and bigotry and fear of one another.

We who are the world’s majority, the 99 percent, must work together to make the whole world safer and saner, because there is no place to hide. There have been many, many tragedies in these past few weeks in many places. It’s important not to rank oppressions or tragedies or to ignore one in favor of another. It doesn’t matter if you are in Beirut or Paris; the problems of one region are the problems of all of us.

We also must do everything we can to stop our governments from using terrorism and the fear of terrorism as an excuse for anti-Muslim and anti-Arab and anti-immigrant hysteria. U.S. wars and policy are directly responsible for much of the tragedy in the Middle East. And the U.S. government has immense resources. It should be taking in many more refugees from Syria and elsewhere, not fewer. Washington, the state I live in, has said it will not start rejecting Syrian or Muslim refugees, and should stick to this commitment.

The United States should open its borders, not close them. It should make real the sentiment on the Statue of Liberty, which was given to the U.S. by France: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Nohemi and I grew up together, and she was like a sister to me. But we working and poor people all over the world are family too. It is up to us as workers, students, immigrants, and feminists — of every color, religion, and nationality — to come together and unite to end all the violence against us everywhere, by ending the wars and oppression and exploitation that are its root causes. This is the only response that will do anything real to stop terrorism.


Miriam Padilla, the mother of a young daughter, is a student at Washington’s Evergreen State College and coordinator of the Freedom for Nestora Salgado Committee there. This statement was delivered at a rally countering an anti-refugee demonstration at the state Capitol in Olympia, Wash., on Nov. 20, 2015.

Read the Freedom Socialist Party analysis “The ISIS Crisis, Made by Imperialism.”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Another Wave of Hunger Strikes Launched at 3 Detention Centers

By #Not1More
November 25, 2015

While many will enjoy the company of their loved ones tonight, 110 detainees in 3 different detention centers will be on a hunger strike demanding they be released immediately from immigration detention.

Take a minute to sign this petition in support of the hunger strikers and tell ICE to release them from detention.

Last night asylum seekers and detainees at the Theo Lacey, Otay, and Etowah Detention Centers began a hunger strike to demand their release. The 110 hunger strikers are putting their bodies on the line, refusing food to denounce the inhumane treatment they endure in these facilities, where their human dignity is ignored by ICE agents and the immigration detention system.

Many of the men taking part in the hunger strikes came to this country seeking protection and fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries only to face the injustice of the immigration system here. In multiple cases, hunger strikers passed their credible fear interviews making them eligible to fight their asylum case outside detention, but ICE refuses to release them. Other hunger strikers have been detained for up to 2 years and are asking for the opportunity to be united with their families and communities.

The conditions at the Theo Lacey, Otay, and Etowah Detention Centers have pushed some of the men to attempt suicide for fear of deportation to countries where they will face persecution from the goverment.

The character of who we are in this country is being tested. As President Obama says that we can't turn away refugees and candidates take varying positions, the hunger strikers make the political debate real, concrete, and human. Sign and share this petition, support the 110 hunger strikers by sending a message to ICE demanding their release from immigration detention.

Thank you

Sign the petition:

For more news on recent hunger strikes:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sanders Introduces ‘Families First’ Immigration Plan

November 24, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. – As he returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bold plan to reform our immigration system. Sanders’ plan puts families first, focuses on common sense reforms to build the middle class and embraces our nation’s diversity.

“As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks, we should reflect on the fact that not all families will be so lucky,” Sanders said. “Millions of families are torn apart by our broken immigration policies. We cannot forget about the aspiring Americans who continue to live in the shadows. As the son of an immigrant, I can tell you that their story – my story, your story, our story – is the story of America: the story of hardworking families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their kids. We have an obligation to enact policies that unite families, not tear them apart.”

If elected, Sanders would:

* Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers.
* Offer humane treatment and asylum to victims of domestic violence and minors fleeing from dangerous circumstances in Latin America.
* End policies that discriminate against women and ensure that mothers and wives who come into the United States with their families have the same right to work as their partners.
* Pave the way for a swift legislative path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
* Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to use racial and ethnic profiling at the border.
* Ensure our border remains secure and protects local communities.
* Make it easier for immigrants to access the judicial system.
* Increase oversight of key Department of Homeland Security agencies to guard against waste, fraud and abuse.

Sanders pledged to make immigration a top priority of his administration, even if Congress refuses to act. He will take executive action to allow all undocumented people who have been in the United States for at least five years to stay in the country without fear of being deported. Under Sanders’ plan, close to 9 million aspiring Americans will be able to apply to stay in the United States.

“As president, I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and is grounded in civil, humane and economic rights. But let me be clear: I will not stand idly by waiting around for a dysfunctional Congress to act. Instead, during the first 100 days of my administration I will take extensive action to accomplish what Congress has failed to do and to build upon President Obama’s executive orders.”

Click here to read Sanders’ plan.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers Of Juarez Find Their Voice

Low pay, abusive conditions, no union representation—employees are fed up and fighting back.

By David Bacon, The Nation
November 20, 2015

Ciudad Juárez—After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez have found their voice. The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories. At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5,000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or plantons, demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.

“We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment, and low wages that we woke up,” explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn’s Scientific Atlanta facility. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, and we’re facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money. But what’s clear is that we are going to continue. We’re not going to stop.”

About 255,000 people work directly in Juarez' 330 maquiladoras, about 13% of the total nationally, making Juarez one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing on the U.S./Mexico border. Almost all the plants are foreign-owned. Eight of Juarez' 17 largest factories belong to U.S. corporations, three to Taiwanese owners, two to Europeans, and two to Mexicans. Together, they employ over 69,000 - over a quarter of the city's total.[...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.

Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014; Family Reunification Top Reason for Return

By Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Hispanic
November 19, 2015

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.[...]

Read the full report:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II

By Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post
November 17, 2015

The results of the poll illustrated above by the useful Twitter account @HistOpinion were published in the pages of Fortune magazine in July 1938. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans surveyed at the time believed that the United States should raise its immigration quotas or encourage political refugees fleeing fascist states in Europe — the vast majority of whom were Jewish — to voyage across the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the proposition that "we should try to keep them out."

To be sure, the United States was emerging from the Great Depression, hardly a climate in which ordinary folks would welcome immigrants and economic competition. The events of Kristallnacht — a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms in areas controlled by the Nazis — had yet to take place. And the poll's use of the term "political refugees" could have conjured in the minds of the American public images of communists, anarchists and other perceived ideological threats.[...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

As Asylum Seekers Swap Prison Beds For Ankle Bracelets, Same Firm Profits

By John Burnett, NPR
November 13, 2015

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been under fire for opening three detention centers to hold Central American immigrant families who fled to this country seeking asylum.

Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release.

A dozen young Central American mothers in jeans and sneakers wait in a corner of the Greyhound station in downtown San Antonio. Each of them has a chunky, black, blinking device about the size of an olive jar strapped to her ankle: an electronic monitor.

An adult immigrant from El Salvador who entered the country illegally wears an ankle monitor July 27 at a shelter in San Antonio. Lawyers representing immigrant mothers held in a South Texas detention center say the women have been denied counsel and coerced into accepting ankle-monitoring bracelets as a condition of release, even after judges made clear that paying their bonds would suffice.

The women can't take off the devices — even to shower, they have to keep them charged, and they have to check in regularly with compliance officers. If they break any of these rules, they're in trouble.[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The dark, complex history of Trump's model for his mass deportation plan

At a time when the U.S. and Mexico were promoting a guest-worker system for agricultural workers, "this was about frightening employers and the immigrants into getting with the program," [Kelly Lytle Hernandez] said.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2015

Esteban Torres was 3 years old when his father was sent back to Mexico by U.S. immigration authorities.

"One day, my father didn't come home," remembers Torres, who lived with his family in a mining camp in Arizona at the time. "My brother and I were left without a father. We never saw him again."

Torres, 85, who went on to become a congressman representing the Pico Rivera area, was part of a generation of people whose lives were changed dramatically by large-scale deportation campaigns during the 1930s, '40s and '50s in which millions of Mexican nationals were rounded up and sent across the border on buses, trains and ships.

During Tuesday night's Republican debate, Donald Trump hailed one of those campaigns — the Eisenhower administration effort known by the outdated, racist name Operation Wetback — as a model for the "deportation force" he says he would deploy to swiftly remove the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.

"They moved 1.5 million out," Trump said, responding to rivals who said his plan would not work. "Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him," achieved it, he said.

The record, however, portrays a darker and more complicated picture, suggesting that a mass deportation effort many times larger than any conducted before would be much harder than Trump indicates.[...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Border agency still struggling with body camera deployment

By Kevin Johnson and Alan Gomez, USA Today
November 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — The sprawling U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, in a continuing attempt to respond to controversial physical force incidents involving its agents, announced Thursday that it needed more time to test its body-camera program, indicating that it will eventually deploy the technology to border checkpoints, vessel-boarding units and for outbound operations at ports as part of an expanded review.

But CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said Thursday that a "full-scale deployment is not necessary.'' He said an existing network of thousands of fixed cameras is providing adequate coverage at some Border Patrol stations and remote crossings.

The expanded testing, not expected until at least next year, represents a cautious step for an agency still struggling to reconcile the technology's "significant'' costs, internal labor strife and camera durability in extremely harsh border environments.[...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Key takeaways on U.S. immigration: Past, present and future

By Anna Browns, Pew Research Center
September 28, 2015

It has been a half-century since the enactment of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which dramatically changed patterns of immigration to the U.S. by replacing long-standing national origin quotas that favored Northern and Western Europe with a new system allocating more visas to people from other countries around the world. A new Pew Research Center study explores how much the face of immigration has changed – and changed the country – and how much more it will do so by 2065.

Here are some of the key findings:

1. Nearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since 1965, and accounting for deaths or those who have left, 43 million of them live here now. When their children and grandchildren are included, these immigrants added 72 million people to the nation’s population, accounting for 55% of population growth from 1965 to 2015. Immigrants and their descendants are projected to account for 88% of the population increase over the next 50 years.

2. A near-record 13.9% of the U.S. population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here. This compares with 5% in 1965, when the immigration law was changed. The current share of the population that is foreign born is only slightly below the record 14.8% that was seen during the waves of European-dominated immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This foreign-born share is projected to rise to 17.7% in 2065 as immigration continues to drive U.S. population growth.[...]

Read the full report:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

By Michael D. Shearnov, New York Times
November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers or resorting to a dangerous trek across Mexico.

But not a single child has entered the United States through the Central American Minors program since its establishment in December, in large part because of a slow-moving American bureaucracy that has infuriated advocates for the young children and their families.

More than 5,400 children, most of them trying to escape street gangs, extortion and sexual assault in El Salvador, have applied to join their parents, who are already in the United States legally. So far the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed only 90 of them, and lengthy procedures for getting airplane tickets and processing paperwork have delayed those whose applications were approved.[...]

Read the full article:

Read our April article, "US Program to Resettle Central American Minors Likely to Help Few":

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Undocumented Youth Are Here Through No Fault of Their Own. But It’s Not Their Parents’ Fault, Either

Using the phrase “no fault of their own” in discussing undocumented young people does not encourage us to look at the roots of the poverty and violence their families experience.

By David Bacon, In These Times
November 5, 2015

When President Obama introduced his executive order in 2012 to defer deportation for young people (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA), the White House website said it would “stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents.”

Last year, in the Republican assault on the President's next order that would have extended DACA to include other family members (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, DAPA), Jeff Denham, a right-wing Republican Congressman from California's San Joaquin Valley, used the same phrase. Taking pains to explain that opposing President Obama did not mean he supported deporting young people, he explained, “I have voted repeatedly in Congress to protect children who were brought into this country by their parents or guardians through no fault of their own.”

The phrase “no fault of their own” sounds sympathetic. Using it to justify halting deportations implies good intentions towards at least some young people without papers. Yet the idea has other troubling implications as well.

If young people came here “through no fault of their own,” then whose fault was it?[...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Justicia para Todos/Justice for ALL

Justicia para Todos
Por Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
5 de Noviembre, 2015

Los medios masivos informan que, de los presos federales que ya van a ser puestos en libertad, serán arrestados de nuevo y deportados. Esta triste realidad hace destacar la política migratoria contradictoria que intenta deportar a todas personas que tienen un “record” delictivo.

La temprana puesta en libertad de miles de reos federales cuyas sentencias por delitos relacionados con la droga se habían considerado excesivamente largas viene precisamente en el medio de la coyuntura en que la nación se está despertando a la realidad de los excesos de su política de encarcelamiento masivo. A menudo se repite de que este país tiene más personas encarceladas que cualquier otro país, o sea 25 por ciento de los prisioneros pero solo 5 por ciento de la población del mundo. La “guerra” fracasada en contra de las drogas es la causa de la gruesa del encarcelamiento de los afronorteamericanos y latinos.[...]

Justice for ALL
By Elvira Arellano, Familias Unidas
November 5, 2015

I am informed through the media that hundreds of federal prisoners now winning early release will be arrested again by ICE and deported. This sad reality just makes clear the contradictory i8mmigration policy which moves to deport anyone with a criminal record.

The early release of thousands of Federal inmates who had been given overly long sentences for drug related crimes comes as the nation is waking up to the reality of this nation’s policy of mass incarceration. Again and again it is being repeated that the U.S. has more people in prison than any other country, that the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. The nation’s failed war on drugs is responsible for most of the mass incarceration of the African American and Latino community.[...]

Lea el artículo completo/read the full article:!topic/sanctuarymovement/gv8gWMfBssQ

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Out of the Shadows

Unboxed Voices, 2012
A short documentary about growing up undocumented, by Juan Galindo, produced by John Howard, featuring Katherine Chua.

Watch the film:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Former NY Gov. Spitzer: Hillary Clinton Opposed Driver's Licenses for Immigrants

In a statement from the Dream Action Coalition, the organization said Latinos and Dreamers are "truly disappointed" that Clinton "would throw the immigrant community under the bus, especially since she had criticized other[s] for doing the same." According to DRC, many immigrants have been deported for not having a driver's license.

By Michael Oleaga, Latin Post
October 30, 2015

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is under the spotlight for her stance on providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

During a Democratic presidential primary debate in 2007, Clinton was questioned if she supported then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give undocumented immigrants driver's licenses. Clinton said she did not think Spitzer's plan was the appropriate approach at addressing the immigration issues that the George W. Bush administration failed to address.
"What Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform," Clinton told debate moderator Tim Russert in the October 2007 debate. "In New York, we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability."

Clinton added, "Gov. Spitzer is trying to fill the vacuum. We need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform." [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Hellish Conditions Facing Workers At Chicken Processing Plants

In a report released on Tuesday, Oxfam America is launching a new campaign to address what it says are rampant health and safety issues, as well as low pay and few benefits, that face the people who process chicken in the country’s plants.

By Bryce Covert, Think Progress
October 27, 2015

Pedro started getting worried when his hands were so swollen he needed a larger size of plastic gloves.

Pedro (which is not his real name) would arrive at the chicken processing plant for Tyson in North Carolina at 5 p.m. to clock in for the second shift. For the next three hours, he says he wouldn’t get a single break from breaking down slaughtered and defeathered chickens, cutting the shoulders and pulling out the tenders, until he was allowed to take a half-hour lunch at 8 p.m. Then it was back to the line until all of the chickens were processed, sometimes at 5 or 6 in the morning.

He says the line moved so quickly that he was processing 45-50 chickens every minute, or nearly one each second. The fast, repetitive motions soon started affecting his hands, which swelled up painfully. They got so large he had to wear 3XL sized plastic gloves. But when he was sent to the plant’s infirmary, he says the nurse simply told him to take ibuprofen and soak his hands in epsom salts and hot water. “The infirmary nurse told me it was nothing to worry about, just your body getting used to it, like when you lift weights and your muscles swell up,” he said on a call with media.[...]

Read the full article:

Download the Oxfam report:

Women Face Retaliation at Texas Detention Center Following Hunger Strike

By Tina Vasquez, RH Reality Check
November 6, 2015

Ten days after news broke of a hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, reports are emerging from inside Hutto that six women are being rounded up for transfer by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as retaliation for participating in the hunger strike.

Grassroots Leadership, an organization that forms part of a larger umbrella group known as Texans United for Families (TUFF), confirms two of the initial hunger strikers, Francisca and Amalia, have been moved to a remote majority men’s detention center in Pearsall, Texas. The organization also reports that Francisca’s family has verified that she has been placed in solitary confinement there.

Last weekend, Insis, a Garífuna woman from Honduras participating in the hunger strike, was placed in “medical solitary confinement” for two days.

Cristina Parker, the immigration programs director for Grassroots Leadership, told RH Reality Check that this type of solitary confinement is a common tactic used by ICE. Hutto doesn’t have what might be considered a traditional solitary confinement area, so women are placed in the medical section alone under the guise of needing medical attention.[...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A 'No Haitians' job ad shows discrimination is not dead

By Monica Campbell, PRI's The World
October 21, 2015

A healthcare company this month placed an ad in a New York pennysaver newsletter, seeking a female nurse. In addition to needing to be laid back and have experience with respiratory management, the woman needed to not be Hatian.

“I thought it was a hoax,” says WLRN reporter Nadege Green, when she first saw the ad.

The company, Interim Healthcare, is based in Florida, and one of its franchisees placed the ad in New York. As word of the ad spread through social media, outrage grew, especially among Haitian Americans across the United States.

Green followed the reaction from South Florida, with its large Haitian immigrant community. "People started talking about how, in 2015, you have what appears to be this type of discrimination happening," she says.[...]

Read the full article:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hundreds launch hunger strike at immigrant detention center in Adelanto, Calif.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
November 6, 2015

Immigrant advocates say hundreds of men have launched a hunger strike at an immigrant detention center in the high desert city of Adelanto, Calif., making it the fourth immigrant detention facility in the U.S. where protesting detainees have refused food in recent weeks.

Attorneys for some of the men and advocates with a detention center visitation group say more than 300 men stopped eating Oct. 30 to protest conditions at the center. They said another group of detainees joined them in the strike on Wednesday.

Shannah Abdulluah, an asylum-seeker from Ghana who has been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since he asked for amnesty at the Mexican border 11 months ago, said he and about 90 other men joined the hunger strike this week.[...]

Read the full article:

Sign a petition supporting immigrant detainees organizing for their rights:

For earlier hunger strike coverage, go to:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

B&H Photo and Video Warehouse Workers Win in Union Vote

For Immediate Release, November 4, 2015

Spanish and English:
Rosanna Rodriguez, Laundry Workers Center, ‪347-652-5724,
Mahoma Lopez, Laundry Workers Center ‪347-488-6936

B&H Photo and Video Warehouse Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Join United Steelworkers

Workers Vote 200 to 88 to Join Union; Demand an End to Hazardous Working Conditions and Discrimination in Brooklyn Warehouses

BROOKLYN, NY – Workers in B&H’s two Brooklyn warehouses voted overwhelmingly today for union representation with the United Steelworkers, in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board. The vote comes on the heels of a weeks-long anti-union campaign waged by B&H management, with workers alleging daily threats, harassment, and intimidation in the workplace. Lawyers for the union have filed multiple charges with the NLRB, alleging B&H engaged in unlawful anti-union activity during the course of the campaign.

Workers remained strong in the face of management’s tactics, confident in the widespread support for unionization in the workplace. "We knew we would win our vote today by a large margin, which of course the company did not expect”, said Jorge Lora, B&H Warehouse Worker of 5 years. “Today we won because the workers voted with their conscience”.

Workers publicly announced their intent to organize with the United Steelworkers on October 11th, after receiving training and support from the grassroots, worker-led community organization Laundry Workers Center. Since the campaign launch, a groundswell of support has grown amongst community, faith and labor groups, as well as thousands of photo/video professionals and B&H customers. On the eve of the union vote, the Photo/Video Alliance for Fair Labor released an open letter to B&H management with over 1,000 signers in journalism, fine art and commercial photography, film, television, and academia, calling on B&H “to end the hazardous working conditions and discrimination workers report at B&H’s Brooklyn warehouses”. Supporters used the campaign slogan #BHExposed to increase awareness of the worker’s campaign, garnering extensive coverage of the working conditions in B&H’s warehouses, including the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, The Nation, WNYC, and numerous photo-video websites and blogs.

The news of the landslide victory was welcomed by dozens of supporters who waited outside of both Brooklyn warehouses to congratulate workers coming off of their shifts. “We want to share this moment with other workers so they also know that they longer have to feel exploited”, said Alberto Sánchez, B&H employee, 7 years. “We were taught our rights, and now we have to pass that on to other workers so they can fight back against the exploitation and discrimination they face.”

“After a year of hard work organizing, today the workers are victorious. This is a huge step for the workers’ movement, and for the Laundry Workers Center, as it continues to develop worker power and leadership in New York City and beyond, said Rosanna Aran, Co-Director of the Laundry Workers Center, said.


For additional coverage, go to:

For earlier coverage of the B&H unionization drive, go to: