[Marxism] UCFW statement on ICE raids

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 15 12:32:07 MST 2006

December 13, 2006

press at ufcw.org

(Washington, D.C.) - United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) 
members working in Swift and Company meatpacking plants are reporting that 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents marched into plants 
Thursday morning with military weapons, herding, segregating, and 
terrorizing workers. Plants and plant gates were locked down.

"The display of force by ICE agents is totally outrageous," said Mark 
Lauritsen, International Vice President and Director of the Food 
Processing, Packing, and Manufacturing division of the UFCW. "We believe 
they are victims of wholesale violations of worker rights. In effect, ICE 
is criminalizing people for going to work."

Families have been ripped apart leaving traumatized children stranded at 
school waiting to be picked up. In some cases, their parents are being 
transported to detention centers in distant cities and denied the 
opportunity to call anyone to make arrangements for their children. Workers 
at the Swift plant in Grand Island, Neb., have been bussed to Camp Dodge, 
Iowa, six hours away from their families, with no guarantee of return 

Workers at the Greeley Colo., plant reported that gun shots were fired. 
Representatives and attorneys with the UFCW, who have standing to represent 
these workers, have been denied access to the detained workers.

"The workers caught in this vice are victims of a failed immigration 
system. It's time for the federal government to stop victimizing workers 
and reform our immigration system," said Lauritsen. "The last do-nothing 
Congress failed to produce its promised immigration reform before recess. 
The result is that children have been orphaned, left to sleep in strange 
beds and uncertain about their holiday or their future. Worksite raids with 
armed agents are not the answer to the nationwide call for immigration 
reform. America deserves a humane, systematic and comprehensive immigration 
policy immediately."

UFCW local unions are working tirelessly to contact family members to 
protect minor children. Union representatives have been denied access to 
the facilities to represent workers. UFCW local unions are putting in place 
a system to aid the families, contacting relatives of children, setting up 
aid funds to supply holiday gifts and whatever long-term assistance they 
may need.

The UFCW represents approximately 10,000 workers at the five Swift and 
Company plants.

The UFCW represents 1.4 million workers, 250,000 in the meatpacking and 
poultry industries. UFCW members also work in the health care, garment, 
chemical, distillery and retail industries.



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