Sunday, April 23, 2006

US Socialist Worker

US Socialist Worker (April 21st 2006) give a sense of the scale and importance of the Latino migrants movement.

WHAT WE THINK: May 1 day of action for immigrant rights demands equality
The return of May Day: campaigners (but not unions) are calling for May 1st to be the Great American Boycott Day

Immigrant workers take a stand: “We’re going to keep marching”
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL published a worried analysis about the April 10 day of action for immigrant rights, pointing to widespread absenteeism by workers who participated, which forced many employers to shut down.
Workers at an Excel meatpacking plant in Dodge City, Kan., walked off the job after several workers were disciplined for staying away from work to demonstrate. After they marched into the company cafeteria and announced they wouldn’t return to work, management was forced to back down and withdraw the disciplinary action.
In Chicago, workers at the Cobra Metal Workers Corp. were fired after skipping work to participate in the march of 300,000 people on March 10. But they won reinstatement after activists organized by the Chicago Workers Collaborative rallied to their defense.
MARTÍN UNZUETA, the group’s organizer, spoke with Socialist Worker’s LEE SUSTAR about the central role of workers in the new immigrant-rights movement--and the national movement to skip work, march and protest on May 1.
Read on for the interview

There's also a useful historical background in America’s last guest worker program: A system designed for maximum exploitation
MILLIONS OF people have taken to the streets in immigrant-rights protests mostly focused against vicious legislation passed by the U.S. House that would criminalize undocumented workers and anyone who assists them. But the “compromise” proposal in the Senate falls far short of justice.

Among the provisions of the proposeal by Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy is a guest-worker program that would give legal status to migrant workers brought into the U.S. to work for a specific contract. The politicians say the guest-worker system would be a generous “reform,” and some leaders among immigrant-rights organizations support it, viewing it as the “realistic” alternative to the House bill.

But as SARAH HINES explains, the history of the last major guest-worker program in the U.S.--the so-called bracero program, from 1942 to 1964--shows that the reality of such a system is very different from the rhetoric.


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