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of exploitation, the denial of citizenship and the destruction of family life caused by an unjust system of laws and outdated attitudes. That’s 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.

Visit www.iwfr.org for specific route information, city contacts and materials.