Skip to comments.Real Issue Behind Immigration: Corporate Race to the Bottom
Posted on 05/20/2010 6:25:45 PM PDT by mdittmar
The ongoing debate about immigration never seems to effectively address the real problem-our collective national addiction to cheap labor and low wages, says Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD).
In a column on BCTDs website, Ayers says the enactment of Arizonas anti-immigrant law has revived efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform at the national level. But before Congress rushes to pass immigration legislation, it must take into account that in America today, its all about next quarters profits and the bottom line.
While exploitative businesses and their apologists hide behind empty slogans like free markets, we know the only freedom they are fighting for is the freedom to exploit workers, steal wages and cut corners.
Ayers points out that certain industries, such as construction, rely heavily on undocumented labor. In recent years, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented workers accounted for as much as 25 percent of the entire U.S. construction workforce. And in the residential construction sector, that number is even higher.
The construction industrys business model is a race to the bottom predicated on exploitation of undocumented workers, Ayers says. That model has devastated construction workers wages. In fact, Ayers says, real wages for construction workers were 17 percent lower in 2006 than in 1973, adjusted for inflation.
Even when contractors are making money, workers are not seeing the gains. According to the federal governments economic census, contractors profits grew between 1977 and 2002. However, the proportion of construction receipts spent for payroll and benefits actually declined by almost 14 percent during the same period, Ayers says.
With those types of statistics in mind, he says:
it is simply idiotic for us, as a nation, to pass law after law-like the one in Arizona-and arrest someone with brown skin who cant produce an ID when we dont have the sense or the courage to address the real issue-companies maximizing profits at the expense of workers, using a business model that relies on the lowering of standards and wages industry-wide by exploiting a workforce without the legal standing to demand justice.
Instead of demagoguery and divisiveness, we need comprehensive immigration reform that stops this exploitation. Americas building trades unions and this great country were built by immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Whether its a temporary worker program that denies full rights and wages to those working in this country or the Show Me Your Papers law, anytime we treat immigrants like second-class citizens, we undermine our core values as Americans, and undermine the American Dream for all of us.
Click here to read the full column: The 800 Pound Gorilla That Sits in the Middle of Arizona.
Funny this should come from the AFL-CIO and even funnier that its somebody else’s fault in their opinion.
Isn’t this the same AFL-CIO that support Dems who want the borders as wide open as possible?
One of the most illogical arguments ever.
Illegal aliens are lowering wage standards and displacing American workers in construction trades.
Builders are exploiting these illegal aliens to improve profits and lower labor costs and are the true villians.
But, getting illegal aliens out of the country is out of the question. We must give them amnesty and keep them here.
Why doesn’t this AFL-CIO hack say what he really means. The unions want these illegals as dues paying members, they don’t give a damn about their condition or the profit taking by corporations, just as long as they get dues and political power.
And the current American construction trades workers can go to hell. They already got their dues and votes. Who cares if they are making lots less than they did in 1977.
Because he is a AFL-CIO hack.
They had me up to the point where it suggested amnesty. What is wrong with punishing employers of illegals...and leaving it at that? (Along w/border control and enforcement)...
Between minimum-wage laws & unions, what’s the choice?
Don’t know,work hard every day for a good company,got full health benefits and 7 weeks paid vacation.
I wou8ld have more respect for these people if they would just stop hiding their private interests behind some so-called “public virtue”. But when the professed concern is for the exploited worker, the school children, the hospital patients, or the public at large when the real reason for the activism is higher wages, more benefits, re-election, I get jaded, especially as they demonize others (taxpayers, corporations, builders, hospital and school administrations) which have the exact same concern about money. I remember seeing a panhandler on Fisherman’s Wharf several years ago with a sign saying, “Why pretend? I need the money for beer.” At least I respected his honesty.
LOL. A couple of years ago the chamber of congress was righteously fighting against employers being made 'agents of the government' because of attempts to make them responsible for the accuracy of employees ID.
Then someone reminded them that employers are government agents in that sense since they facilitate the collection of income taxes.
The liberals on the ‘North’ American continent (open borders lunatics) appear to be in complete agreement against Arizona LAW, wonder just how in agreement they are on Mexican Immigration LAW... Maybe a few pious religious leaders would also start preaching ‘social justice’ and demand the US emulate Mexican Immigration LAW!!!!!
So I will be encouraging all my liberal relatives and friends to demand that we in the US, adopt Mexican Immigration LAW!!!!!
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