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Oct
2014
1

LiUNA Partners With Immigrant Advocacy Group CASA to Improve Mid-Atlantic’s Working Conditions

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The Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA!) and CASA, an immigrant advocacy group, have announced a partnership to help organize Latino construction workers and help them fight for their rights on job sites.  According to a report from BNA Construction (a subscription site), the new partnership will be called CASA-LiUNA! Mid Atlantic Region.  The laborers will join with CASA de Maryland and CASA de Virginia to increase voter registration rates and job training for CASA’s 60,000 members.  

As LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President Dennis Martire said at a Sept. 23 press conference:

“We have the same interests. Your fight for workers’ rights and better wages and working conditions is our fight. LIUNA, simply put, is a way to the middle class.  We plan to partner with CASA to fight for immigrant rights, workers’ rights, and make sure your voice is our voice. We are one voice now.”

CASA-LIUNA Mid-Atlantic plans on encouraging the Washington metro area’s concrete laborers to join Concrete Workers LiUNA! Local 202.  LiUNA! will also recruit CASA members for apprenticeship opportunities and conduct workshops on union membership.  Many concrete workers in the region earn less than $20,000 a year working for non-union companies.

The announcement of the partnership came on National Voter Registration Day. During the press conference announcing the partnership, CASA de Virginia member Ivania Castillo touched on the importance of immigration reform to the immigrant community:

“It’s important to vote Nov. 4. Why is it important? It’s important because President Obama sent a message. He said he was going to act on an executive order for immigrants in this country. Then he came out later and he said no.

[Obama] sent me, a U.S. citizen, he sent me the wrong message. He sent me a message [that said] I don’t care about your community,” Castillo said. Immigrants will not vote for legislators who don’t help with immigration reform, she said.

“Eleven million immigrants in this country are waiting. They are patiently waiting. I say to the president and to the Democrats and the Republicans that the time is now.”

The LiUNA! Mid Atlantic Region represents more than 40,000 construction craft laborers and public employees in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

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