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8/18: Washington State Labor Council adopts a strong Immigrant Rights Resolution
Released 31 August 2007  By Steve Hoffman - WFSE Local 304

Washington State Labor Council adopts a strong Immigrant Rights

by Steve Hoffman,

Delegate to the WSLC Convention from Washington Federation of State
Employees (WFSE) Local 304

On Saturday, August 18, 2007, delegates to the annual Washington State
Labor Council Convention voted enthusiastically and overwhelmingly for a
resolution that pledges to defend the rights of immigrants. The Council
speaks for more than 500 local unions and over 400,000 rank-and-file
workers in Washington State.

The Resolution on Immigrant Rights denounces "guest worker" plans and
the general atmosphere of racist scapegoating. In adopting it, the
convention called on the Labor Council to take several concrete steps,
including a commitment to "expand and initiate campaigns to organize
immigrant workers into unions" to work for the "repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA"
and "regressive immigrant legislation pending before Congress." It directs
the Council to "call for an end to all ICE raids and deportations, including
those based on Social Security no-match letters, and to work with
immigrant rights groups to expose and stop ICE raids." It also directs the
Council to forward a copy of the resolution to the national AFL-CIO with a
request that labor halls provide a sanctuary for immigrant workers facing
persecution from ICE.

During discussion of the resolution, several delegates called for the
Council to protest the accelerating raids by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) agents on worksites and communities across the
state. A delegate from the National Association of Letter Carriers went a
step further and called for a shutdown of the Tacoma Detention Center, a
privately-operated prison where undocumented workers are incarcerated.

This important resolution was brought by the Office and Professional
Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 8 and accepted with
additions from a resolution drafted by the WSLC Executive Board. The
OPEIU resolution was based on one written and disseminated by
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, (OWLS), a multi-union caucus
of rank-and-file labor activists in the Seattle area. Send messages
to OWLS via

Unionists nationwide can modify the resolution as needed for their own
locals and labor councils. The full text is at

I believe the Councilís decision comes at a critical hour in the movement
to defend undocumented workers. On the same day that delegates voted
to act, members of the John Birch Society and the Minutemen marched
in Seattle, calling for increased ICE raids and military-style border
barricades. They carried huge signs that portrayed immigrants as child
molesters and rapists. Fortunately, the anti-union racists were met by a
spirited counter-protest of community groups and union delegates who
came directly from the WSLC Convention.

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