Sunday, January 15, 2006

Immigrants may save organized labor

Immigrants may save organized labor
Wooing workers who fear deportation is real battle
By Tom McGhee
Denver Post

Carpenters union pickets last week included homeless Michael Murphy, front right, who was paid $10 an hour to pick up a sign and join the march. (Post / Jerry Cleveland)

Unions are reaching out to the foreign workers who crowd U.S. construction sites, and some see them as a heaven-sent solution to sliding membership rolls.

As employers turn to cheaper nonunion workers, some unions that represent the construction industry are trying to organize the immigrants who take those jobs - regardless of their immigration status, said Jim Gleason, executive secretary of the Mountain West Regional Council of Carpenters.

Adding the newcomers to union rolls could mean the difference between survival and extinction for a labor movement that is struggling to remain relevant.


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