Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

SEIU Members Push Their Union to Change Its Position on Immigration

No Worker is Illegal

by WILLIAM JOHNSON

Members of the Service Employees (SEIU) in Northern California are demanding just immigration reform. That’s not too surprising. For the past two decades, SEIU has been one of organized labor’s strongest advocates for immigrant rights.

This campaign, however, pits SEIU members not against anti-immigrant employers or politicians, but against their union’s top officials. Dubbing their campaign, "No Worker is Illegal," members of SEIU throughout California are demanding that their union’s leaders retract their support of immigration reform legislation like the recent Hegel-Martinez and McCain-Kennedy bills.

McCain-Kennedy, which will likely be the model for any immigration reform bill proposed by the incoming, Democratically-controlled Congress, would have established a federal "guest worker" program, under which employers could hire immigrant workers on a temporary basis without providing them a guaranteed path to citizenship.
McCain-Kennedy would have also further militarized the U.S.-Mexico border and leveled sanctions against employers who hire undocumented immigrants.


WEAKENING UNIONS

Renee Saucedo, a member of SEIU Local 790 in San Francisco and a leader of the "No Worker is Illegal" campaign, says that these provisions could have disastrous consequences for immigrant workers and SEIU. She asks, "How are we supposed to organize workplaces with these kind of laws?

"[Guest worker] programs make immigrants more vulnerable and less likely to take the risks that go along with joining a unionEmployer sanctions can lead to discrimination, since some employers will try to avoid hiring immigrants altogether-or anyone who looks or talks like them."

Frustrated with their international’s position, members of Local 790 began reaching out to members of other SEIU locals in California earlier this year.
According to Local 790 member Brian Cruz, members of Locals 87, 535, 949, and United Healthcare

Workers-West (a statewide health care workers local) became interested in building a campaign.

On October 12, SEIU members and staff from these locals got together and decided they would push the SEIU International Executive Board to address immigration reform at its January 2007 meeting. Their first task was to get the international’s attention.


TAKING IT TO THE TOP

Luckily, SEIU International President Andy Stern was in the San Francisco area promoting his new book, A Country that Works. Saucedo and a few allies attended one of Stern’s readings and persuaded him to meet with them.

Saucedo remembers, "We explained to him that this was not just San Francisco, that [opposition to McCain-Kennedy] was a widespread sentiment. He gave us different responses, ranging from ‘Kennedy-McCain was the only viable bill’ to ‘the SEIU membership is still pretty conservative on this issue.’

"We told him that as a union, we should never be supporting anything that hurts workers-like guest worker, employer sanctions."

According to Saucedo, Stern next sent out SEIU’s head immigration policy person, Cuc Vu, to meet with the "No Worker is Illegal" folks. Says Saucedo, "We had a five hour meeting with her. She came with the Washington, D.C. lobbying perspectivemade a lot of the same arguments as Stern."

SEIU’s international office did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
Saucedo doesn’t find Stern and Vu’s arguments convincing. She notes that SEIU took a strong position against the war in Iraq even though there are certainly "sections of the union that were for the war. We want the same thing on immigration."

More than a fear of backlash, Local 790 member Brian Cruz thinks the primary reason the SEIU international is supporting guest worker is that "SEIU sees building partnerships with employers as the way to build the union.

"It’s the way Andy Stern spells it out in his book. He calls it ‘Team U.S.A., workers and corporations working hand in hand against competitors around the world.’"

Cruz notes that as recently as 1999, "SEIU was a big part of the push to support amnesty for all immigrant workers. When guest worker started coming out, [SEIU Vice President] Eliseo Medina came out against it.

"Now," Cruz continues, "Medina’s calling guest worker ‘a step in the right direction.’" Cruz believes that beneath the partnership strategy, "There’s a lot of skepticism about the immigrant movement. The feeling is, they don’t believe we can build a strong movement, so we’d better take the best the politicians have to offer."


BUILDING MOMENTUM

For now, No Worker is Illegal plans to pressure the executive board during the lead-up to its January meeting. Whatever happens, Cruz says that SEIU members will continue to push for a general amnesty for immigrants.

As long as there are undocumented workers, says Cruz, "employers will use them as a wedge to thwart any organizing. Trying to build a fair compromise around guest worker is pie-in-the-sky."

WILLIAM JOHNSON is co-editor of Labor Notes.

For more information about the No Worker is Illegal Campaign, email brian@noworkerisillegal.org or go to http://noworkerisillegal.org.