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Feb-25-2012 21:18printcomments

Immigrant Workers Score Victories

Immigrant workers score wins.


(LAS CRUCES, NM) - Despite an adverse economic and political landscape, immigrant and low-income workers celebrated victories this past week.

In California, labor and community activists announced the winning of two new union contracts for car washers, or carwasheros, as they are called locally. The agreements with the Vermont Car Wash and Nava's Car Wash in the south Los Angeles area were the latest in a campaign uniting the Community Labor Environmental Action Network with allies in organized labor. Last September, workers at Santa Monica’s Bonus Car Wash were the first shop unit to gain union recognition.

Edwin Leones, Nava’s Car Wash employee, said his fellow workers were “excited” to be union members. The victory, Leones said, now ensures that workers will have a “voice on the job and a say in our conditions.” In addition to a pay increase, the contracts will provide for extra safety equipment and on-the-job occupational health and safety training.

The car washers will be represented by the United Steelworkers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. According to the national labor federation, the workers employed at the three southern California businesses are the only car washers nationwide to enjoy union representation in an industry that depends heavily on immigrant workers.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hailed the union agreements, saying the contracts represented an improvement in the lives of “some of our city’s most exploited workers…”

The car washers’ movement and related struggles were on the agenda of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who visited California last week. In a speech to the annual convention of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Trumka heartily endorsed the struggles of immigrant workers. He also blasted “armed vigilantes like the Minutemen,” and lashed out against “terrible, inhuman” state immigration laws in Arizona, Georgia, Alabama and elsewhere.

Inspired by immigrant workers, the US labor movement will continue pressing for the legalization of undocumented workers, Trumka said in a Los Angeles speech. To reclaim and honor the history of all workers, organized labor will celebrate May Day 2012, he added. The national union leader also contended that anti-immigrant and anti-labor forces constituted the same adversary.

“And let me tell you, it’s no coincidence that rogue state officials, like those in Arizona and Alabama who passed America’s worst anti-immigration laws,” have also targeted unions,” Trumka said.

Trumka’s words were delivered as the NDLON, a network of worker centers spread across the United States, marked its tenth anniversary fighting for the rights of immigrant and low-paid who make a living on unpredictable, temporary work.

The contemporary victories of immigrant workers were celebrated as Chicano and labor activists remembered the 60th anniversary victory of the epic Empire Zinc Strike in southwestern New Mexico. The conflict erupted after Mexican and Mexican-American miners, many of whom were World War Two vets, rebelled against local segregation in housing and other services as well as discriminatory company employment policies .

The strike was notable for the participation of miners' wives, who assumed picket-line duty after a judge slapped an injunction against their husbands that prohibited the men from picketing the company’s gates.

According to New Mexico labor activist and historian Hueteotl Lopez of Juntos en La Union, the women “persisted and proved to be strong and brave fighters even when they were thrown into jail and threatened.”

The long strike was depicted in the film Salt of the Earth, which included many of the original strikers in the cast. The film’s producers and actors faced blacklisting in the anti-communist atmosphere of the McCarthy Era, FBI investigations and other forms of harassment. Leading actress Rosaura Revueltas was deported to Mexico. Much later, Salt of the Earth was inducted into the Library of Congress as one of the top 100 films representative of the United States, according to Lopez.

In an essay circulated on the Internet, Lopez took the occasion of the Empire Zinc anniversary to analyze the history of the strike and its long-term significance. Wrote Lopez :

“It is one magnificent example out of many in U.S. history that set a precedent for the rest of the country and for the world to follow-that struggle and sacrifice in the name of humane and equal treatment is not in vain and that standing together in the face of adversity, persecution, incarceration and isolation for your belief in change is a testament to the power of right to win out over wrong.”

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Dearno June 8, 2012 4:12 pm (Pacific time)

[i]To clarify the siatution, those who are calling for forced removal are advocating that the roughly 300,000 children of illegals born annually should be seperated from their families. Since these children are US citizens, they cannot be deported. What kind of sicko is for this.[/i]I am that kind of sicko...why? I am sick of these illegal parents getting a free ride in terms of healthcare, welfare, food stamps, etc. etc.. Folks, GM has problems in healthcare because the insurance companies are jacking rates only because hospitals are asking for more money because of the uninsured. A national healthcare plan won't help, that will only increase taxes (business and personal) and shift high insurance premiums to the taxes paid amount.I don't care if we remove these folks are not, but we do have two choices: #1: Stop all free money to illegals. If they have kids, the kids get money sent to the parent...just enough to feed the kid. The illegals are making money under the table (ie: No taxes) so they can take care of themselves. #2: No more free, basic healthcare for illegals, only those children who are citizens. If illegals need a trip to the doctor, they need to go south of the border and take care of things down there (where it's likely a pay before you play set up anyway). Either that or they need to start bringing cash to the ER if they want to use it as their Primary Care Physician.Search google. ERs are closing all the time because of the uninsured problem. Nothing but higher insurance costs or higher taxes (if we go national healthcare) will fix it. If my tax rates end up as high as Canada, guess where I plan on moving. The US is become a third world because the elite only care about staying in power. If we are not going to kick these folks out, we need to make them citizens, take their finger prints, give them a SSN, and start making those employeers pay taxes on these people.

Dave Francis February 26, 2012 2:47 pm (Pacific time)

The United States is at odds over illegal immigration. On the right side crave that tens of millions should be deported yesterday, as they have driven down wages and consume federal and state assistance services, while the majority evade taxes and at the same time wiring some $46 billion to support families in other countries. On the opposite side of the coin, as with the Liberals and Democrats who identify illegal aliens as future voters and model themselves as open border zealots that want no immigration enforcement whatsoever The Liberal Progressives want this country to forfeit its right, to define itself as a nation of laws and thus would commit financial suicide. The left does not care that the 20 to 30 million illegal immigrants and migrants do not pay enough taxes, to cover the overload of welfare and public services that they use. It’s not adequate to say they pay gas, food, household goods and other sales tax. Because it no way covers the Heritage Foundation and American Federation Immigration reform report of $113 Billion dollars a year, going in free health, schooling for children and welfare and subsidiary cash payments, that are absorbed every year. A further estimate is that over 500.000 and use some means to illegally enter America, either by foreign flights or slipping past the undermanned border agents. Not all Presidential candidates have committed to building the real double parallel fences at the Southwest border. A promise of enforcing the fence has only come from the mouths of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul has remained mainly negative on the subject of border enforcement. President Obama has expressed to the Democratic majority, that in the next five years following his inauguration, that he will pass a nation comprehensive immigration reform, containing a Dream Act legislation, unfettered chain migration for immediate family members and millions of agricultural jobs, that taxpayers will be forced to pay. Robert Rectors analysts at the Heritage Foundation have spoken in another report, that to complete this tyranny of action cost to taxpayers of $2.4 Trillion dollars to complete, adding even incendiary spending of Congress. Our only hope of getting out of this mess should be to unseat all pro-illegal immigrant incumbents, at all levels of government. Any elected official who says illegal aliens should have drivers licenses (Police chief Beck in California.) The Mayor of New Haven DeStefano, who issued Identity cards to foreigners, Governor Jerry Brown of California insisting there should be a path to citizenship, while dollars are rolled out for the millions of nationals their and citizens are forgotten and the hundreds of Governors, Mayors, Judges, Police and public officials in councils who run cities and towns have to be elected out of office. Strong mind Governors as Arizona’s Governors Jan Brewer, and other who are on the right side of the fence, should be reelected and moderate Democrats, should also join this financial battle. The cost for assimilating illegal aliens on top of the flood of legal immigrants is unprecedented. These are further expenses we don’t need on the rising federal deficit in paying for two wars and Obama’s cronyism. The man has already bypassed the requirements of the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli Immigration Act, and through presidential orders allowed backdoor amnesties for unlawful people. Many are now walking on our streets, thinking that after the 2012 election they will be granted a path to citizenship. You have already the years of abuse of criminals advancing there heinous occupations, leaving innocent victims blood in home invasion robberies, the murders and in the endless spotlight the drunken driving madness. Ice has been intimidated by radical organizations, who belief illegal aliens should have the same rights as citizens. Their determination to overturn the “Rule of Law” that has governed us, since the founding fathers first penned their signature on the U.S. Constitution. Both political parties are guilty of eroding this precious document. All are guilty of giving lip service to the oath of allegiance and abusing their positions. Those of us that see this unapologetic corrosion in Washington can either turn a blind eye or find a place for themselves in the rising membership of the TEA PARTY. These tens of millions of ordinary folk spread out in thousands of chapters throughout America have realized that under the roots of either Democrats, Liberals or Republicans the Congress will follow the same old route as before. They will keep on printing money and the spending will continue. By overhauling the Senate and more of the House of Representative seats with Tea Party leadership, the same old favoritism will end. There will be a revolution in the Congress, as never seen before. Laws on Immigration will be enforced. Until green Power is further advanced, we will drill for oil, of which we have an ample supply to last a hundred years. The tea Party will approve our pipeline from Canada, to reduce the need for foreign supplies. Federal election regulations will be amended, so prove of who you really are by possessing a voter ID. This will disrupt non citizens from voting in future election cycles, that Democrats have specifically overlooked. This Tuesday Arizona will be put to the test with an election, thus millions of illegal aliens settled there are likely to scorn the law, if official picture ID is not evident for voting. Our freedoms have been jeopardized, unless we have a political party we can depend on, as our country is straining towards the wrong direction in our future. We have seen this with the harassment of Border States of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina and newly joined state of Mississippi under considerable pressure from unfunded mandates from Washington. All 50 States have been trying desperately to save their legal population into paying for illegal aliens, but have been intense bombardment for decades and initiated by religion, unions and radical minority groups. This will not happen under TEA PARTY legislation and in fact they will pass bills, as the mandatory E-Verify “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” (H.R.2885) Placing federal enforcement obstacles to halt illegal workers being hired, the “BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT” (H.R.140) to right a wrong by amendment to a law that says no child gains instant citizenship if both parent owes allegiance to a foreign country. Soon as (H.R.2885) is enacted self-deportation or ATTRITION THROUGH ENFORCEMENT will commence as with jobs unavailable, they will leave. This has been a huge mockery of our laws, as 300 thousand females annually will intentionally cross our border or enters as a tourist from another country, to have her baby here free of charge and then apply for a green card. If you are not aware of “The Legal Workforce Act” that directly affects millions of citizens-residents jobs or the “Birthright Citizenship Act” that will contain billions of dollars in your revenue, then Google NUMBERSUSA for much in depth description and then report this fiasco to your prominent federal or state politician and demand they pass these laws. GET RID OF ALL THESE POLITICAL IDIOTS BEFORE THEY GIVE YOUR COUNTRY AWAY. If you really want the truth about the illegal alien invasion and many other problematic issues that cause Americans unnecessary pain and suffering, then you need to view the uncensored pages, not suppressed by the Leftist media at www, For information about the corruption in Washington and state congressional seats of power, check the web site of the

Anonymous February 26, 2012 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

"Editor: Cheney and Bush gave your tax dollars to Haliburton, these are human beings, they deserve to forge a life for their families." Could you provide an accounting of tax dollars going to Hallburton? Maybe many different administrations of different parties used them for defense purposes, but unlikely anyone was enriched directly otherwise it would be out there. What we do know is that green energy government tax money has gone to outfits, some now bankrupt, who bundled their political donations for Obama and democrats. As far as illegals, then why have laws? Just throw open the borders? Is that what the editor sees as a wise thing to do? Are illegals absorping into American culture, or are they balkanizing? What is their crime rates? Their welfare rates? Try going to Mexico and see how you become treated as an illegal when looking for work, schools for your kids, legal representation, freedom of speech, etc.. You have foreigh governments hostile to us, who want us wiped out who would be very happy to transport people from around the world to come here illegally. In fact they are doing it now. No one has a right to ignore our laws, our soverignty. You want to talk in person about this issue? Let's do it!

Tim King:  I think you are threatening me and I really dislike that, especially from a spelling-challenged bigot.  I am making a note of your IP and if you want to comment again, use your name. .  

Anonymous February 26, 2012 9:39 am (Pacific time)

Yippy good for the illigals. Make all criminals feel good thats what liberalism is all about. Screw the American people just suck them dry for taxes. What is this Country coming to?

Editor: Cheney and Bush gave your tax dollars to Haliburton, these are human beings, they deserve to forge a life for their families.

stephen February 25, 2012 6:43 pm (Pacific time)

Darn...instead of getting my car washed for 5 bucks, its gonna cost 20 bucks now..Thinking I will start washing my own car...I am thinking most other people will follow suit. getting my point here? its election year and the lies will be flowing... Just wait until the car washers find out how much union dues they have to pay, then the car wash price going up, then wonder why they have no customers...this is economics 101.. I am for equal rights, but there is this weird thing, called "REALITY" :-)

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