Unions Desert Workers

By Samuel Francis
Volume 10, Number 3 (Spring 2000)
Issue theme: "Revised projections: Census Bureau report projects a more crowded and balkanized U.S."

As Dr. Johnson commented about the prospect of being hanged, the announcement last week that the executive council of the AFL-CIO has unanimously approved a resolution calling for mass amnesty for illegal aliens ought to concentrate certain minds wonderfully. Not the least concentrated should be those of the libertarian and free marketeers, who have warbled for decades over the glories of immigration of all kinds, legal and illegal.

Libertarians and free marketeers also like to warble about the evils of labor unions even more than they do about the glories of immigration, of course, so it might come as just a wee bit of a shock to them that the labor establishment is now making use of illegal aliens to resurrect its fading power in the American economy and politics.

One of the economic advantages of illegal alien labor for the people who use it is that such aliens are easily exploited. You don't have to pay them minimum wage, provide health benefits, worry too much about safety measures on the job site, or be concerned about strikes. The aliens are here illegally, and they can't go to the government or a union to complain or file lawsuits. That's why free market trumpeters love them so much.

But if the aliens get amnesty, those days will be over. Unions, which have declined in membership from more than one-third of the national labor force at the end of World War II, now represent barely 10 percent of the private sector labor force. Once amnesty for illegals kicks in, that will change. The amnestied aliens will flood into the unions, and the unions will be back in business with plenty to complain and lobby about and with a horde of new voters to back them up.

In short, what the libertarians and free marketeers have done with all their bubble talk about immigration is help resurrect socialism - and not only socialism as it used to be in the 1930s, but socialism with a racial edge. So far from conservative Republicans being able to win the working class Hispanic votes of the future, those votes are likely to go to champions of Big Government and the Brown Resolution.

As for the benefits to American workers or even to those immigrants who chose to obey U.S. laws and immigrate legally, the unions have effectively abandoned them. "What a betrayal of American workers," says Texas Republican Lamar Smith, an advocate of immigration reform, "Apparently, union bosses are so distraught about declining enrollments they will stoop to exploiting illegal workers."

"Labor leaders," the New York Times reports, "are stepping up efforts to unionize hundreds of thousands of immigrants who work in farms, hotels, construction, meat packing and many other industries," and every alien the unions sign up will have a job that used to belong to an American worker.

Moreover, the amnesty and unionization of illegals will pull even more illegals across the border. Illegals come now because the American job market and the wages it offers are so much more attractive than what they can find in Mexico and other Latin paradises - even without the protections that legality and union membership would confer.

But with the prospect of legalization through amnesty and membership in unions, illegal entries will skyrocket. Border enforcement is almost impossible today, but with amnesty and unionization as magnets, there will be no way to control the border, short of military force.

What the AFL-CIO decided to do this week, in other words, is one more betrayal of the American workers it's supposed to be looking out for, and one more act of treachery against America and its people. But the unions are not alone in their treason.

Almost every other institution that has lost members in the last generation or so also champions unrestricted immigration. Churches do because fewer and fewer Americans attend their services. Teachers and school systems do because many Americans don't have children anymore, and without kids to teach, there's no reason to have people to teach them.

And, of course, political parties want more immigrants because it means more voters to mobilize and pander to. So do welfare bureaucracies, which find among immigrants new social problems to tinker with.

About the only group that doesn't have a vested interest in importing a new population through immigration is the American people themselves, who watch helplessly as their jobs are taken by aliens, their communities invaded and destroyed, their government captured, and their culture and civilization undermined and abandoned. If there are any Americans left who want to halt their dispossession through immigration, they can forget about looking to established leaders in business, labor, religion or government to help them. The only people who can help Americans today are Americans themselves.

About the author

Samuel Francis, Ph.D., is a nationally-syndicated columnist. This column is copyright 2000 by Creators Syndicate.