The public sector union of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is declaring itself a "sanctuary union" – but a spokesperson for a group of conservative black leaders says the declaration is meaningless.
The Graduate Employees Organization Local 6300 claims to represent approximately 2,700 graduate assistants and teaching assistants at UIUC. Last month the group announced in a resolution they are a "social justice union" that intends to engage in public activism to oppose immigration enforcement, refuse cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and law enforcement – and lobby the university to do the same.
"We will oppose the use of the knowledge generated at this University to aid and abet the deportation and detention machine," the resolution states. "We are a social justice union and therefore fight for all our members rights outside the workplace!"
Dr. Carol Swain, a member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, says the declaration is insignificant. "Declaring themselves a sanctuary union really accomplishes very little because they have no power to impact public policy," she tells OneNewsNow.
Regardless, Swain argues that legislators need to crack down because GEO Local 3600 is disobeying the law and interfering with law enforcement.
"Legislators need to hold universities accountable. [These schools] need to be committed to the Constitution and to the rule of law," says the former Vanderbilt political science professor. "And to the extent that these graduate students create disruption, I believe they should be expelled from the university."
In the published resolution, the union specifies it will support the continuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); it will not cooperate in any way that aids in the prosecution or deportation of its members; and it will oppose what it calls "the militarization" of the border or the construction of a border wall.
Editor's note: In image above, members of Graduate Employees Organization Local 3600 march for higher wages. (Photo credit: GEO Local 3600)
9/12/2018 - Name of university corrected.