Reason for labor unions attitude change

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Chris Woodward (

Union leaders are in Atlanta today continuing their push for immigration reform, while right-to-work advocates continue to call the effort hypocritical.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka claims that "in order to create shared prosperity and a voice for all, we must address our immigration process," adding that workers without the protections of citizenship are subject to enormous abuse by employers.

Wszolek, Fred (Workforce Fairness Institute)Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) points out that is a much different attitude than a few years ago.

"Back in 2007, labor unions helped kill a comprehensive immigration reform proposed by Senator [John] McCain (R-AZ) because they didn't want any sort of guest-worker program. They didn't want immigrants coming into the country," he recalls. "They were as anti-immigration as anyone else."

But now, with the unionization rate at its lowest level in nearly a century, Wszolek says unions see immigration reform as a way to bring in more workers. Then "they hope to go unionize these companies."

"You know, if you're here in this country, maybe your language skills aren't excellent, and some very aggressive union organizers come at you saying, Here, sign this, you'd end up probably signing it," the WFI spokesman poses.

The 14-city campaign will be in Denver on Friday, with stops in Seattle, San Francisco and Miami planned for later this month (see earlier story).

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