Workers must unite

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Americans believe that hard work should be rewarded with fair pay, and workers should be treated with dignity and respect.

However, our current immigration system doesn’t live up to those values, because it allows for a millions of workers in the U.S. to be treated as second class.

These include workers who have valid work visas, but know their employers can fire them for any reason or no reason at all, and they would be required to leave the U.S.
immediately. It includes hard-working immigrants who are often paid less than minimum wage and face horrendous working conditions, but are afraid to stand up for their rights for fear that they or their loved ones will be deported.

U.S. citizens who work alongside these immigrants are hurt, too. Because their co-workers do not have a voice on the job, wages and standards are lower across workplaces and industries.

It’s time all workers stand together to pass worker-centered, comprehensive reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship. By allowing immigrant workers basic workplace protections, the freedom to move within labor markets, and a voice in the workplace, unscrupulous employers no longer will be able pursue a race to the bottom in wages and standards by exploiting vulnerable immigrant workers.

Brian Dupuis

Lake Bluff

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