PITTSBURGH, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today from USW International President Leo W. Gerard in support of immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate:
"For far too long, we have needed a comprehensive plan to provide a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already here. Therefore, we welcome these proposals and look forward to closely examining the details. We must provide a clear path for potential citizens, without granting anyone a 'free pass,' and without punishing those who came here legally.
"Just as so many immigrants did for generations before us, we expect that these new citizens will work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our nation's economic growth. It is clear, though, that providing a path to citizenship alone is not enough. We must make certain that any reform effort protects the rights of all workers, immigrants and non-immigrants alike.
"These reforms will bring new Americans with the talent, intelligence and work ethic to do great things. This will mean more innovation, more new businesses, and greater demand for American-made goods. It will mean that unscrupulous employers no longer will be able to unfairly threaten and intimidate workers or force them to work in unsafe, inhumane conditions.
"The 'W Visa' program, a product of collaboration between the business and labor communities, will provide a steady pool of immigrant workers ready to perform some of our nation's low-skill, difficult-to-fill jobs, which will fuel economic growth without driving down wages.
"This legislation has the potential to bring millions of people living in our country out of the shadows and offer them the newfound promise of the American Dream. It will make our economy and our entire nation stronger, and that strength will mean a brighter future for all of us."
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing workers in a wide range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels and municipal governments and agencies.
CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel: 412-562-2450
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)