Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Resolution on the Right of Immigrant Workers to Organize

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted in 2004

Source File:


Resolution No. 49

WHEREAS, Our countries, and its Labor Movement, were built in large part by immigrants, including those from Africa kidnapped and forced into slavery. Our laws have also historically reflected public attitudes about race, with bans and discriminatory limits on legal immigration from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which have only recently been rectified. People have come here seeking economic survival, often driven from their countries of origin by hunger, political repression and the lack of economic opportunity; and

There are over 100 million people in the world today who have left their countries of origin. Only social and economic justice on a global scale will create a world where immigration is not a means of survival for the world's poor; and

Thousands of immigrant workers, both with and without documents, have mounted large and effective campaigns to organize unions across the Nation and in Pennsylvania in the last decade. These efforts have created new unions and strengthened and revived many others, benefiting all Labor, immigrant and native-born alike; and

The ability of workers to organize has been increasingly threatened by current immigration law and it’s enforcement, which has been used to retaliate against workers who organize and protest against sweatshop conditions; and

Labor stands for the equality of all workers. Immigration legislation, and its enforcement, which divides workers undermines that strength. All workers, regardless of immigration status, have the right to form unions; file complaints against illegal and unfair treatment without fear of reprisal; receive unemployment insurance, disability insurance, workers' compensation benefits; and enjoy the same remedies under Labor Law as all other workers;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, opposes all cooperation between the Immigration and Naturalization Service and other government and public institutions, such as Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor, unemployment and welfare offices, and motor vehicle departments, among others, in which information provided by immigrants is misused for immigration enforcement purposes; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, calls for ending completely the practice of sending letters to employers with lists of workers whose names don't match the Social Security Administration database ("no-match letters"), which are then used as a pretext to terminate them, alleging their immigration status is in question; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, calls for a new amnesty program, allowing undocumented immigrants to regularize their status, and an inexpensive and expedited citizenship process to allow immigrants to become citizens as quickly and easily as possible; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO proposes that the budget for immigration enforcement be cut drastically, and the money used instead to increase enforcement of workers' rights and Fair Labor Standards.