Labor unions vow to fight ICE agents with “sanctuary unions”

BY ANNETA GRIFFEE / FEBRUARY 12, 2018 /

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Vowing to fight against federal immigration laws, a New York labor union involving about 120,000 Teamsters throughout New York City and Long Island has banded together and distributed training materials on how to avoid ICE and declared they are a “sanctuary union.”

The material the group passes out at their training classes is called the “Deportation Defense Manual,” as they teach supervisors and workers how they can protect “their rights” if immigration officials come to their place of work.

The New York Daily News reports:

The training is complex and technical — hinging on specific types of warrants and the definition of a raid.

But in fundamental labor terms, it follows one simple rule: Union solidarity first, immigration status second.

The Teamsters’ decision to openly challenge immigration enforcement under President Trump is rooted in the loss of one of its own members.

The New York Daily News notes that the organization, “which covers a variety of fields, including airlines, truckers, dairy farmers and more, also has a sizable share of immigrant workers, roughly a third, 40,000.”

At a Wednesday class, funded by the Consortium for Worker Education, Mike Spinelli of Local 553 listened carefully as trainer Luba Cortés walked everyone through the difference between an administrative warrant and a judicial one.

Spinelli paid particular attention because many of his members — immigrants who work at a Long Island dairy farm — were profoundly shaken when federal agents raided nearly 100 7-Eleven stores last month in a search for undocumented workers.

“We deliver all the dairy to all the 7-Eleven stores in the city — you can imagine how scared some of these guys are,” he said. “It’s a scary time in general, and we’re hoping this can help the workers feel prepared and help protect them — and also so employers know they don’t have to just roll over.”

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