Bensonhurst

Brooklyn workers strike on Day Without Immigrants

Anti-Trump protest set for cities across U.S.

February 16, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ligia Guallpa is the executive director of the Worker’s Justice Project. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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The nationwide Day Without Immigrants strike on Thursday to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies was also expected to have significant support in Brooklyn, where members of nonprofit group Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) planned to join the 24-hour work stoppage to send a message to the White House.

In a letter to the community WJP Executive Director Ligia Guallpa wrote that the group’s members are taking part in Day Without Immigrants to show their solidarity with immigrant co-workers and to “show the collective power of the Latino immigrant community.”

The WJP operates the Bay Parkway Community Job Center, an employment program that helps bring together employers looking for workers and day laborers seeking employment as construction workers, gardeners, house cleaners and other positions. Many of the jobseekers are Latino immigrants.

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The Day Without Immigrants strike is expected to have a huge impact on businesses in cities across the country with immigrants taking the day off from work.

Many restaurants that employ immigrant labor announced that they would close on Thursday.

The strike was organized largely through social media and word of mouth, CNN reported.

The strike took place in response to Trump’s positions on immigration, including his vow to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, his recent executive order placing a temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in various locations across the country in which undocumented immigrants were rounded up.

The president’s executive order has been put on hold following court decisions that went against the Trump administration. The raids in which immigrants were rounded up were aimed at illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reported.

The Day Without Immigrants protest will help bring to light the plight of Latino immigrant workers according to Guallpa, who wrote that those employees are often subjected to unsafe working conditions and wage theft. “We are consistently forced to work longer hours, harder jobs, for less pay, under constant fear of retaliation,” she wrote.

Trump’s controversial policies “will only worsen the working conditions we are subjected to,” Guallpa wrote.

The WJP has issued a series of demands on the Trump administration and employers in general.

The demands include:

  • A call for the Trump administration to immediately end the ICE raids and deportations, cease all work on the border wall, and end the so-called Muslim ban.
  • More opportunities for Latino immigrants, legal and undocumented, for jobs. The WJP is also calling for an end to the practice by employers of using the immigration status of Latino workers to exploit them and retaliate against them.
  • A call for employers to stop mistreatment of Latino immigrant workers, including wage theft.

The one-day strike will give immigrants the chance “to use our collective power as workers and consumers to show the Trump administration we are ready to fight together for justice,” Guallpa wrote.

For more information on the WJP, visit workersjustice.org.

 


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