Ariz. immigration law's impact on labor
A sign reading 'Arizona, The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You' along the state's New Mexico border on Interstate 10
by Jeff Tyler
Anyone working in the U.S. needs at least a visa to do so legally. But there's no such requirement for joining a union.
"For unions to organize workers, they can't ask to see their green card first and then have them sign a union card second. They seek to organize everyone in a workplace, whatever their immigration status," says Harley Shaiken, a professor at U.C. Berkeley specializing in labor issues. "Many of these industries that have a lot of immigrant workers are vital for the growth of unions."
Labor leaders voice other motivations.
Ana Avendano with the AFL-CIO says the new law could have a chilling effect on worker complaints.
"Our employment laws rely on workers to file complaints with the government to expose dangerous workplaces, non-payment of wages, discrimination, and other violations of law," says Avendano.
She says the Arizona law could be used to bust unions. When faced with a picket line, Avendano says, employers could just call the sheriff and have their problems deported.