From:"Lisa Maldonado, AFL-CIO" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: the rank and file
I’m from a union family. My dad is especially proud of his union, never missing a picket line or a chance to talk about the benefits of his membership. Unions are the reason my family counts ourselves in the middle class.
But it didn’t start out that way. My dad came to this country from Mexico as a bracero, or a temporary worker without papers. He started working in his teens, seven days a week, picking cotton, strawberries and grapes in 100-degree California heat. He told me stories of being sprayed with chemicals and pesticides in the fields without any protection. When he went to sleep at night, it was in a rundown shack that passed for “migrant housing.” All while living in fear that at any moment, he could be arrested and deported, simply for working for a living.
My father always spoke about one particular immigration officer who marched him and his friends up to the boss’s house before deporting them and told the farmer,“I’m taking these guys, but not until you pay them the wages they worked for.” My father said the farmer hemmed and hawed—but they got their wages that day. I want an immigration process in our country that doesn’t exploit workers like my father.
As Washington debates the immigration bill, I’m standing up to tell Congress I support a commonsense immigration process. Will you join me?
When my mom and dad became union members, it changed our family’s life. My brother and I had our first doctor’s appointments ever because of our union health insurance. My parents have a dignified but modest retirement through their union pensions. They bought their own house, paid their taxes, voted in every election, and sent my brother and me to college because of their union jobs.
We were raised with working family values, which included the strong support of unions—of which my dad was a stalwart member.
My father would sing the praises of his union to anyone who would listen. He told them their labor would be rewarded and, most importantly, they would have rights on the job and would not be afraid to speak up like he was as a new American worker. I saw how the labor movement gave my family a ticket into the middle class and I believe EVERY family deserves the same opportunity.
That opportunity starts with passing a commonsense immigration bill. But they’ll never pass the bill if they don’t hear from us.
Will you stand with me?
Executive Director, North Bay Labor Council, California Labor Federation