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Related Categories: East Bay | Immigrant Rights
Call to Action: ICE Out of Emeryville!
by repost
Tuesday Oct 30th, 2007 6:01 PM
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is helping employers scare their workers into silence and avoid following labor laws. That undermines labor standards for all workers, no matter where they're from. Tell ICE to leave Emeryville hotel workers alone, stay out of labor disputes, and stop helping employers break the law.
Call to Action: ICE Out of Emeryville!

WHAT: Action to tell immigration officials to stop targeting workers who are standing up for their legal rights.

WHEN: Thursday, November 1st
12:00 - 1:00 PM

WHERE: 1500 Broadway (at 15th Street), Oakland

Hotel workers in Emeryville have been struggling for over a year to win their rights under Measure C, a city living wage law. They've faced stiff opposition from their employers, who have fired and intimidated workers active in the campaign. Months ago, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) got involved in the dispute - when Woodfin Hotel managers asked for an investigation of their own workers. Now ICE agents have begun taking action against Emeryville hotel workers. Agents visited and questioned a Woodfin worker leader at home, telling her that they were investigating Measure C. ICE also ordered Emeryville's Hilton Garden Inn to fire twelve workers, and arrested a man who'd worked there for 18 years.

By pursuing workers affected by Measure C, ICE is helping employers scare their workers into silence and avoid following labor laws. That undermines labor standards for all workers, no matter where they're from. Tell ICE to leave Emeryville hotel workers alone, stay out of labor disputes, and stop helping employers break the law.

Call-in: Call Special Agent Charles DeMore at (510) 267-3800 - THIS WEEK! Sample message: "Hello Agent DeMore, this is ________. I am calling to urge your office to stay out of the current labor dispute in Emeryville. Measure C is a local labor law, it has nothing to do with ICE, and you should not be involved. I do not want you using my tax dollars to intimidate workers and help employers break the law."

Action: Come make some noise outside the ICE office at 1500 Broadway (near the corner of 15th Street in downtown Oakland) on Thursday, Nov. 1 from noon to 1 pm.


Background: In February 2007, at the height of the Woodfin Hotel workers' campaign to enforce Measure C, Woodfin managers contacted U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray. (Bilbray represents the home district of Woodfin CEO Sam Hardage, and Hardage has been a generous donor to Bilbray's campaigns.) At the Woodfin's request, Bilbray contacted the national head of ICE and requested an investigation of the immigration status of workers affected by Measure C.

In April, ICE agents seized employee files at at least two of the hotels covered by Measure C, the Woodfin and the Hilton Garden Inn - even though ICE's regulations are supposed to keep it out of labor disputes.

Last month, ICE agents returned the Hilton's files - and ordered managers to fire twelve workers immediately. They also arrested a dishwasher who had been working at the hotel for 18 years. A week later, the same agents visited the home of a leader and spokesperson for the Woodfin Hotel workers. They brought a folder of news clippings about the campaign, said they had been sent by senior ICE officials in Washington to investigate Measure C, and explicitly told the worker that they were visiting her because she'd spoken publicly about the dispute.

Labor and community groups around the country have experienced similar abuses in recent months. In San Francisco, ICE agents showed up at an SEIU Local 87 picket line - with tear gas guns and helicopters. Earlier this year, an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers was arrested for "harboring" undocumented workers. In New Haven, ICE agents raided a Latino neighborhood the morning after the local government approved a municipal ID system to help immigrants gain access to city services.

This has got to end. Join us Thursday, or contact Brooke Anderson at brooke [at] workingeastbay.org with questions.

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