Labor Union Organization Forming ‘Sanctuary Union’ to Protect Immigrant Members | Sojourners

Labor Union Organization Forming ‘Sanctuary Union’ to Protect Immigrant Members

Image via Diane Herr / Flickr

As many as 120,000 Teamsters in New York and Long Island are assembling to become a "sanctuary union," in response to recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across the nation, according to the New York Daily News

Dozens of employers and front-line workers of the U.S. labor organization are being educated about their rights and ways they can respond to federal immigration agents. 

The Teamsters' decision to actively protect immigrants stems from one of its members, Eber Garcia Vasquez, 54, was deported in August to Guatemala with no criminal record and two pending green card applications for him and his family. 

The New York Daily News reports: 

But in fundamental labor terms, it follows one simple rule: Union solidarity first, immigration status second. ... Many Teamsters are white, blue-collar men — a demographic that in some unions skewed toward Trump in the 2016 presidential election.But 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.

“We saw and felt that concern, and we are responding to it. And that includes all our members, from all backgrounds," George Miranda, Teamsters president of Joint Council 16, said. "When we’re out on strike, we’re all the same on the picket line — what matters is that you’re a Teamster, and fighting with us.”

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