USW Commends President's Commitment to Immigration Reform

Jan 29, 2013, 17:17 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

This statement was released today by USW International President Leo W. Gerard:

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It is long overdue that our nation recognizes that its immigration system is broken.

(Logo: )

We commend both the President and Congress for making it a priority to address this issue in a meaningful manner.

A major challenge is fairly handling the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already part of the fabric of our society.  As long as undocumented workers remain in the shadows, they can be unjustly exploited by employers in that they can be subject to wages theft, unsafe working conditions and denied other basic protections under the law.

Every American worker has a stake in this: as undocumented workers are abused, it encourages some employers to overstep boundaries with other workers. If undocumented workers are paid less than a prevailing wage, wages of other workers will be suppressed as well. If undocumented workers are exposed to hazardous conditions, that will become more and more the norm.

The long-term solution to uncontrolled immigration is to stop promoting failed globalization policies and encourage just and humane economic integration, which will eliminate the enormous social and economic inequalities at both national and international levels.

We fully realize now that much of the emigration from Mexico in recent years resulted from the disruption caused by NAFTA, which displaced millions of Mexicans from subsistence agriculture and enterprises that could not compete in a global market.

Finally, an essential component of the long-term solution is a fair trade and globalization model that uplifts all workers, promotes the creation of free trade unions around the world, ensures the enforcement of labor rights and guarantees all workers core labor protections.

The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean in a variety of industries, from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.

CONTACT: Wayne Ranick at (412) 562-2444

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)