Tag Archives: AFL-CIO

Business Versus Labor: Creating New Immigration Laws

Usually at odds over immigration laws, the AFL-CIO, the giant labor organization, and the Chamber of Commerce, have been requested to chisel out a proposal that will make everyone on both sides of the aisle in Congress happy.

This request was made by Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, in the hope that, given these two groups’ opposing interests, a compromise both Republicans and Democrats can live with will be created.

Most controversial on the list of reforms that labor and business don’t see eye to eye on is a guest worker program which will allow future immigrants to come into the country legally. Labor groups see the permission of foreign workers into the country as threatening since these workers will work for low wages. Business, on the other hand, would like to see more low-wage workers brought into the country, and the more legal they are, the better.

At the moment both sides of the issue appear optimistic that they can reach an agreement. Schumer is cautious however, since he and other observers note that this issue derailed a similar attempt at creating comprehensive immigration reform legislation back in 2007.

After Helping Obama Clinch Battleground States, Organized Labor Makes Demands

Key leaders of organized labor were rejoicing at the end of election night, as exit polls showed that labor’s enormous voter turnout turned the tide in favor of Obama in the key battleground states of Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin.

These leaders, such as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka are hoping their president will present as a more liberal, union-friendly, leader who will push their agenda from the White House.

Richard Trumka

“There are things the president can do, and we’ll be expecting that leadership from President Obama,” Trumka told reporters after the election.

At the top of labor’s expectations is a definitive tax-hike for America’s wealthiest citizens. Labor leaders also hope that Obama will not make any deals with Republicans over the approaching “fiscal cliff” the country is scheduled to fall off of, when safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare experience across-the-board budget cuts.

Labor leaders have other issues on their agenda as well. They would like to see new rules that could help increase their shrinking membership lists, including new investment in infrastructure which would create more construction jobs for trade unions. More liberal requirements for immigrants to become citizens could pave the way for 11 million undocumented Latino workers to flood the ranks of the labor unions. Other reforms could also make it easier to organize unions in certain spheres.

It might not be so simple for organized labor to get their way, however. Business groups which are opposed to these changes will continue, as they have in the past, reforms that will help unions get new members.

“My primary concern is in the regulations,” said Randel Johnson, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for labor issues. “We are afraid that on employment issues, the administration will stay firmly to the left and follow the lead of the unions.”