CBTU, On Board!
Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride
September 20 October 4, 2003
CBTU will be a major participant in the largest national
mobilization ever for immigrant rights in this country. The Immigrant
Workers Freedom Ride (IWFR) is an unprecedented movement to educate
the public and elected officials about immigrant rights and the
injustices of current immigration policies.
Inspired by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights
movement, immigrant workers and their allies will get on buses in
nine cities in late September and cross the country, raising awareness
of the plight facing immigrant workers. They will converge first
in Washington, D.C., where they will meet with members of Congress
on October 1 2. Then, the new Freedom Riders will head to
New York for a mass rally on Saturday, October 4th.
According to the 2000 Census, there are over 30 million
immigrants in this country, representing 11 percent of the population.
But their presence and impact on the American workforce is far greater.
Mostly Latinos, Asians and West Africans, they account for half
of the new wage earners who joined the labor force in the past decade.
Yet, this generation of immigrant workers, like those
of the late 19th century and in the 20th century, is among the most
exploited workers in this nation especially in the food service
and health care industries where immigrant workers of color dominate.
Often they are intimidated from forming or joining unions. Some
employers also try to pit non-immigrant workers against immigrant
workers, hoping to destroy their solidarity and deny their right
to a voice on the job.
CBTU President William Lucy said black trade unionists
have a special duty to participate in the Immigrant Workers Freedom
Ride. From slavery to sharecropping to working side-by-side
white workers for less pay, black workers understand the pain and
indignity of exploitation, the denial of citizenship and the destruction
of family life caused by an unjust system of laws and outdated attitudes.
Thats why CBTU will join our allies in the black community
and the labor movement to carry the message that justice for immigrant
workers is justice for all workers.
Freedom Riders will depart from the following cities:
Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Houston; Miami;
Boston; Chicago; and Minneapolis.
for specific route information, city contacts and materials.