Earlier this month, 4 more people from Swift and Co. were arrested on immigration charges, including Braulio Pereyra-Gabino, who is vice president of Local 1149 of the food and commercial workers union.
“This is the first time a union employee has been charged in an immigration case,” Cashen said. “We're concerned and we're anxious to get all the information to make sure he's not being held accountable for things that are not his responsibility. We don't hire. We're not required to check immigration status.”
The Des Moines Register had a special editorial yesterday on Pereyra-Gabino's arrest.
Union representatives or citizens have no duty to report someone they suspect isn't legally in the United States, according to immigration attorney Lori Chesser of Des Moines.
“Union officials typically do not hire workers, so they don't have the employer-employee relationship that requires them to ask, 'Are you legal or not?' ” Chesser said.
To the contrary, unions believe they are bound by law to represent all workers in the Marshalltown Swift plant.
“As elected representatives of the workers at Swift and elsewhere, we are legally responsible to represent those workers,” Cashen said. “We can't discriminate. We can't pass judgment on who we will or won't represent.”
It would be interesting to ask all of those presidential candidates that are visiting Iowa about this case.
After having 1,200 workers nationwide arrested on immigration charges last December, Swift and Co. has yet to be fined or charged with anything.
Originally posted at Century of the Common Iowan.