Labor Unions join forces to support immigration reform

Just days after the inauguration speech of President Barack Obama Congressional leaders are speaking out, with the speech having resonated strongly with labor unions.  For the very first time in a number of decades unions and migrant laborers have joined forces in order to come up with a plan for comprehensive immigration reform, ABC News says.  Six years ago, back in 2007, labor unions split apart in order to create two different groups – Change to Win and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

It was reported recently by Talking Points Memo that AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, which in the past have been very much regarded as being rival organizations, have both agreed that a bill to enable a pathway to US citizenship for illegal immigrants is one of their top priorities.

“The inequality created by our current immigration system is having a deeper effect on our society than anything we’ve seen in recent history,” says Ana Avendano, who is assistant to the director and president of AFL-CIO’s immigration and community action.  “We have 11.5 million people who really are not benefiting from the hard fought gains that the labor movement and other social movements have accomplished in this country.”

Comprehensive immigration reform could result in higher wages for low-paid workers and serve to boost union enrolment.  Four years ago, in 2009, AFL-CIO and Change to Win came up with a number of principles for immigration reform that included rational border control, better management of immigrant workers and improved workplace verification systems.