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View Diary: Mexicans Find New Solidarity & Unity in this Godforsaken Mess (96 comments)

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  •  What about a work stoppage May 1 - May 5? (2+ / 0-)
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    mahakali overdrive, Eric Nelson

    I've been thinking about how much (invisible,underpaid) work is done in the US by undocumented immigrants, and I couldn't help wondering --

    What if there were a strike -- work stoppage, or even just a work slowdown -- by all undocumented workers (and those who would like to stand in solidarity with them?

    I think a two-week-long strike by these workers would bring this country to its knees.  Lettuce would rot in the fields, as would strawberries.  Factory-farm chickens would not be harvested or processed -- no Chicken McNuggets for YOU!  Hotels, hospitals and nursing homes would go uncleaned, and restaurant managers would be bussing and washing dishes.  (I hope I'm not 'racial profiling' the kinds of jobs held, no offense intended.)

    But even five days of the 'invisible labor force' disappearing, either nationwide or just in Arizona, could make the 'invisible workforce' visible through their absence.

    (I realize that this workforce would probably suffer for missing work, but might those who support their rights -- and the Constitution --  come to the fore and offer subsistence?)

    •  I think if Latinos could afford to strike (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquagranny911, Eric Nelson

      they would do so. I hope that some Latinos (I think of the SEIU and the CA Nurses Association, as well as some of the truckers already boycotting -- but with union support from the CA truck drivers union -- the first two of whom ARE heavily Latino in Southwestern states, statistically, and at least unionized and less impoverished than some of the day laborers and such).. I hope they DO decide to strike. You're right that this would bring the economy to its knees in Arizona.

      Truckers in particular. I think it's why they knew to boycott the day after this law was passed.

      It has been historically proven that agricultural areas where there are rapid deportations that are complete go bankrupt.

      Were that to happen here in California Wine Country, we'd be through. The grapes would rot on the vines.

      I recall a story of this happening in Southern Arizona and another in Massachussetts, both leveling the local economies due to overzealous deportation of the labor force.

      I don't think many Latinos can afford two weeks off. If Latino Business Associations with a little more leeway, however, did strike for a set time, yes, it would have GREAT impact. Betcha they're thinking about it too.

      A wonderful idea, cronewit.

      "Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." -- MLK Jr.

      by mahakali overdrive on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 04:40:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, let's say 'day laborers,' then -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, Eric Nelson

        -- since that might be a way of talking about people who 'do work' but don't necessarily 'have jobs'.  I can understand, for them, each day's work is necessary for that day's food (and possibly lodging).  But it is just these people whose work is most invisible, and whose work, if stopped, would cause the most immediate impact.  (I'm thinking agricultural labor, here.)

        People who 'have jobs' (like, say, hotel maids) would lose their jobs if they didn't show up, and no one could expect other, equally poor, people from stepping into those jobs.  But day laborers, now . . . well, it might be that, if their subsistence needs were met for, say five days (May 1 - May 5), they might be able to afford to not work for a short time.  Five days would be plenty of time to make an impact on highly perishable harvestables, or on crop cycles/planting times.

        Of course, the challenges would be (1) communicating & getting 'takers' at such short notice; (2) finding supporters (churches, organizations, individuals) who would commit to making sure that striking day laborers would be fed and/or housed for those days.  But if a small strike took place in AZ only, or even just in a few key AZ counties, the logistics would be simpler.  (I could see the supporter groups even making this into a kind of festival.)

        I'm just thinking out loud, here, with no expectations.  But if even a small strike could be arranged quickly, announcements could be made that, if the AZ law takes effect Aug 1 as planned, Aug 1 will also bring extensive strikes involving some of the labor organizations you mention.

        Well, those are my thoughts, for whatever they might be worth.  I'm in IN, disabled, impoverished and largely housebound, but even I could see my way clear to go through my pantry and scrape up enough food for one person for five days.

        YOU ARE DOING WONDERFUL WORK, MO!  Keep it up, and keep your spirit strong!

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