Raids, Reforms, and the Labor Movement by Tim Costello and Jeremy Brecher, Brendan Smith
The December immigration raids at Swift & Co, and increased enforcement activity elsewhere, are a body blow against labor's attempt to organize low wage workers.
Undocumented workers comprise a significant percentage of the workforce in many of the industries targeted for organizing by unions including cleaning contractors, hotels, meatpacking, food processing, light industry, and commercial laundries. The raids will make workers feel more insecure and may make them less willing to take the chances required to organize. The raids may also make employers more willing to use immigration status as a club to thwart organizing and more willing to cooperate with immigration authorities to protect themselves from prosecution or lawsuits. If a significant percentage of the workforce feels vulnerable, all workers will be hurt since chances of successful organizing campaigns will be greatly reduced.
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