LOS ANGELES —More than 550 union members from 32 different unions in the Los Angeles area along with several leaders from L.A.’s community and faith organizations will travel to Phoenix on July 29. They will travel “without papers” or identification the day SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, is scheduled to go into effect. Eleven chartered buses will depart from Dodger Stadium at 5 a.m.
The buses will be filled with L.A. letter carriers, teachers, city and county employees, truck drivers, stagehands, carwash workers, construction employees, nurses, homecare workers, hotel workers, grocery workers and steelworkers, among others. Among the 550 participants who oppose SB 1070 are immigrants and non-immigrants, U.S. born and foreign born, African Americans, Asians, Latinos and Anglos. All of the buses bound for Phoenix will be driven by local shop stewards of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700.
“No one will be able to tell from looking at us who is illegal and who is not,” says Matt Kozlo, a letter carrier from San Dimas and U.S. veteran who will ride the bus on July 29. “Whether we are white, black, Asian, or Hispanic, we all came here at some point from somewhere else. Our immigration system does need to be fixed, but not the way Arizona is doing it.”
L.A. labor’s goal is not only to oppose SB 1070, but participate in activities in Phoenix where they will pledge to support efforts to register and turn out Arizona’s Latino vote. They will also kick off a new campaign joining Los Angelesand Arizona working families around issues of workers’ rights, good jobs and sensible solutions for national immigration reform.
“We faced the same racial profiling law masquerading as immigration reform back in 1994 with Pete Wilson and Prop. 187,” says Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “It sparked major political change in California for the Latino community and workers issues. We want to support the Latino families of Arizona in defeating SB 1070 and the anti-worker agenda behind it.”