The Labor Movement Responds to Executive Actions Targeting Immigrants and Refugees

Sadly, our new President has begun his term with a series of executive orders and memoranda targeting immigrants and refugees. Happily, the Church and organized labor are swiftly speaking out in defense of these vulnerable workers and families.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has issued a statement on the executive actions, which begins:

President Donald Trump has announced three executive orders addressing immigration that are an affront to core union and American values. Building a wall on our border, scapegoating immigrants and refugees, and shutting out people of Muslim faith will do nothing to uplift working people in our country. To the contrary, these orders sow fear of raids among workers, promote racial profiling and erode core constitutional protections. As such, they are a clear attack on our members, and elevated fear is a direct obstacle to workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively. We call on President Trump to revoke these orders.

We are better than this. Our nation must never turn its back on people fleeing violence and oppression based simply upon where they are from or the religion they practice. We call for our nation’s leaders to stay true to our long and proud tradition of providing safe harbor to those seeking to build a better life. We offer our solidarity and support to the working families harmed by this discriminatory ban.

The AFL-CIO has a page of resources for union members and other workers threatened by the administration’s actions.

Leaders of several major labor unions have issued similar statements, among them:

  • Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing many immigrant workers in healthcare and cleaning services
  • D Taylor, President of UNITEHERE, representing many immigrant workers in the hotel and hospitality industry
  • Art Pulaski, President of the California Labor Federation (AFL-CIO)
  • Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

What’s happing in your local union or labor federation? Drop me a line at clayton@catholiclabor.org or add your story in the comment field below!

Report: At Least 500 Catholic Institutions Employ Union Labor

union-yesWhen the US Catholic Bishops invoke the rich history of Catholic social teaching to defend the rights of labor, all of the faithful can learn from their words. When Catholic hospitals, schools and universities respect workers’ right to organize, the faithful can learn from their actions.

Today the Catholic Labor Network is pleased to release its 2016 Gaudium et Spes Labor Report, featuring a list of approximately 500 Catholic institutions employing union labor.

Did you know, for instance, that more than 350 Catholic elementary, middle and high schools in the United States have union contracts with their teachers? Read more