Labor Rivals Unite to Push Immigration Reform

Yes on legalization, no on guest-workers, say AFL-CIO, Change to Win
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Apr 14, 2009 8:40 AM CDT
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, thousands of May Day protesters take to the streets in downtown Los Angeles, to call for immigration reform.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)
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(Newser) – America’s two labor umbrella groups may be archrivals, but on immigration reform, they’ve agreed to put up a common front, which could be a big boon to White House hopes, reports the New York Times. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win have agreed to push for the legalization of current undocumented immigrants, and to oppose a guest-worker program. “These groups understand that one of the main reasons they lost before was that they were not together,” says a former Labor secretary.

The stance on guest-workers puts unions at odds with big business. “If the unions think they’re going to push a bill through without the support of the business community, they’re crazy,” says a Chamber of Commerce official. Instead, the unions want a “depoliticized” commission to assess labor needs and calculate how many foreign workers to admit.