Unions on 14-city campaign for reform

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Union leaders have been traveling the country pushing for immigration reform, but one labor analyst says the union movement has been very inconsistent on the issue.

The fourteen-city campaign began last Wednesday in Raleigh, North Carolina, with events occurring Monday in Las Vegas. 

James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics for The Heritage Foundation, says the movement for reform has been somewhat confusing because of its inconsistency.


"The union movement has been very inconsistent and back and forth on immigration reform," he says. "The reason for that is because there are differences within the unions. Some of the unions, like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), want to organize a lot of the service workers who are in the sectors that a lot of immigrants are in; and illegal immigrants just aren't that interested in unionizing because they're afraid of coming out of the shadows."

At the same time, Sherk says unions like the Teamsters and the United Auto Workers have traditionally been hostile to any form of immigration reform, in particular a guest-worker program because they fear it could create competition for jobs.

"So the union movement has been back and forth and all over the fence on this," he says. "Right now they're supportive, but in the past they haven't been, and that's a function of the conflicts within the union movement."

The new push does come after another decline in union membership, with participation now at its lowest level in nearly a century.

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