A place for the rank and file to unload.
Regrettably, I must report that the majority of my losses of nearly a quarter of a million dollars in wages this past decade can be confidently attributed to illegal immigrant competition. For the most part, they were suffered as a union member of the International Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT). As one could deduce by my post "name" below, I am an 'allied' trades worker. The description 'allied' has become, in fact, a bitter irony.The IUPAT is a member union of the AFL-CIO. Your readers are probably aware that the AFL-CIO, along now with the Change to Win union group did an about face in their policy of disavowing illegal labor in 2001 and began to avidly recruit illegal immigrants, regardless of legal status; "We don't care if they have a green card. All we care is they have a union card."-Bernie Hesse of the UFCW Local 789, as quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.This has been to the detriment of great numbers of legal tradesman, the very people who built the union's wealth, power and prestiege in the first place. Now, in many instances amongst the union contactors in my vicinity it has become the habit to keep two sets of account books.The first set is the accounting of secret piece work deals struck between employee and employer-the basis for exploitation of illegal and US workers in the drywall industry. My union's bylaws formerly forbid piece work; I know, I've been a footage worker in the day. I had a change of heart when the rates we worked for began to decline with the advent of illegals. I even turned in a company to the union, complete with paperwork evidence, and for my trouble was laid off from that company the very next day. Now I see the wording forbidding piecework has been stricken from the by-laws.The second set of books is the one that the union or tax auditor is presented to sign off on-those piece work and footage deals converted to contractual wage hours, even though the actual hourly rate is driven well below the scale set due to the willingness of the new arrivals to submit to less than fair wages-notably, many people call this simply fraud.How does this benefit a full-fledged union member, one of alleged illegal status?An anecdotal quote: " The same guys come back every year with a different name and social security number, they claim eight or nine exemptions to avoid tax withholding, and they just hire 'em right back every time."-a payroll accountant for one of the major drywall contractors in the Twin Cities area. Boy, I wish I could avoid paying income taxes and withholding. But, of course, I can't because legal citizens get in big trouble for tax fraud, don't they?That's what many American tradesman are up against today. I've read opposing points regarding E-verify and it's faults, and I am concerned; hopefully the measures now in place to correct those faults will be worthwhile and not just bandaids. Yet as it stands today it is one of the most efficient and easy to use government programs available. I agree wholeheartedly with the statement that exploitation of workers affects us all. But not to say I'm a whole hearted fan of amnesty either. That legislation has numerous faults also, as witnessed by the wording denying CIS intake workers to verify documentation presented. Another industry of fraud waiting in the wings-a means to an end for exploitive, carpetbagging tactics? We've got to demand mandatory E-verify in the workplace now, in the unions and employer companies alike, and push for enforcement of existing immigration law rather than waiting for a false amnestyprogram whose real goal is a ploy for political power
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