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For most of their history, labor unions opposed attempts at loosening immigration laws and often threw their weight behind restrictionist measures. During the most recent overhaul effort in 2007, a schism among unions cracked an otherwise willing liberal coalition and helped defeat the reform bill. But now, in the wake of Arizona’s strict and highly controversial new immigration law, labor has united to support immigration reform with unprecedented vigor.

Richard Trumka, president of the 11.5-million-member AFL-CIO, gave a pivotal speech on June 18 at the City Club of Cleveland that crystallized labor’s shift in outlook. Trumka, the nation’s most powerful labor voice, made a moral and economic case for reform and pledged to “face head-on our own contradictions, hypocrisy and history on immigration.” AFL-CIO has joined forces with the 2.2-million-strong Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to pour resources into the fight, and the three have written a joint letter to Congress detailing labor’s “unified position and unfailing commitment” to sweeping reform. http://washingtonindependent.com/88356/in-wake-of-arizona-law-labor-unites-behind-immigration-reform

By Sahil Kapur -- Washington Independent

Unions
Illegal Immigration
amnesty

Updated: Mon, Jun 28th 2010 @ 12:58pm EDT