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Unions to Picket ICE Operations

Hotel union UNITE HERE promises to picket hotels where detainees are kept

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jul 12, 2019

This week, Trump announced that his long-delayed ICE raids would begin this weekend. These raids are not only meant to detain and deport thousands of immigrants, but they are also meant to strike fear into immigrant workers.

At Netroots Nation, the yearly gathering of liberal and progressive activists, union leaders Sara Nelson, President of the flight attendant’s union, and D. Taylor, President of UNITE HERE hosted a panel titled “Is It Time for a General Strike?” During the panel, both addressed the upcoming raids. Taylor, who represents hotel and hospitality workers and has a large immigrant population within his union's ranks, blasted Trump’s decision. He referred to Trump’s plan as evil and said that this is a moment of truth for the labor movement. “If I see a press release on that and not direct action, what the hell are we talking about?” he said. “We’re not just gonna send a letter. We’ve gotta do action at every one of those hotels. We’ve gotta turn up the heat.” Taylor vowed that his union will take action against hotels that enter into contracts with ICE to house detainees. He also promised that UNITE HERE will not only be taking action in union strongholds like New York, California, Las Vegas and the border but rather they will take action across the entire country.

Nelson, whose call for a general strike during the government shutdown forced Congress to agree on a deal to re-open the government, emphasized that immigration is a union issue. She recalled Trump’s Muslim ban and how some of her flight attendants were detained and unable to work because of the ban.

Nelson and Taylor’s comments come as more unions are realizing that immigration is a union issue. “Announcing raids on immigrant communities is a clear and present danger to the workforces in the cities they are planned and support the tactics of the low wage employers in these areas,” said John Durso, the President of the 350,000 member Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Rallies and vigils are planned for the next few days to oppose Trump’s policy and some organizations have put out guidelines on your legal rights when dealing with ICE, whether you are undocumented yourself, with an undocumented person, or the employer of an undocumented worker. Below is video from the American Federation of Teachers rally outside of the Customs and Border Patrol office in Washington D.C.

“Raids are projected to begin this Sunday, July 14th in 10 cities, including NY. This threat has sent a chill through immigrant communities on Long Island, with many fearing leaving their homes. Long Island Jobs with Justice is preparing and mobilizing their faith leaders and community advocates to respond to the immediate needs of immigrant workers and their families as they navigate this frightening time.” said Anita Halasz, Executive Director of Long Island’s Jobs with Justice.

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