Monday, April 10, 2006

Kerry Discusses Immigrant Worker Issues

Maria Elena Durazo Joins Senator Kerry and Congressman Becerra to discuss immigrant worker issues

California Political Desk
April 10, 2006

(Los Angeles) - Maria Elena Durazo, Interim Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO joined Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) and 40 hotel workers to discuss the needs and concerns of immigrant workers.

“Immigrants want nothing more than to work hard and be able to support their families, but the challenges they face in doing so are more than many of us would be willing to bear, said Durazo. “This meeting provides our leaders the opportunity to hear first hand of the struggles our immigrants workers face each day.”

Among the many issues cited as of concern to immigrant workers are immigration, living wages, health care and organizing a union in the workplace. Many immigrant workers in attendance felt that the issues of living wages and health care could be more appropriately addressed if immigration status wasn’t utilized as a tactic by employers to prevent immigrant workers from organizing.

“I’ve worked in this country for over ten years,” said Victoria Vergana a single mother of two. “It’s not unheard of for an employer to threaten a worker with contacting immigration for attempting to organize in the workplace.”

There is great wage disparity between union and non union jobs. In the hotel industry for example, a union housekeeper makes an average of $11 an hour with health insurance. A non-union housekeeper makes an average of $8 an hour without health insurance. The difference in salary and health care benefits makes all the difference for many if not all workers who are trying to provide for their families.


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