Punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, union members say

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 3:36 p.m. CDT; updated 2:02 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Hundreds of union members congregated at the Capitol today urging lawmakers to protect their jobs and punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Guy Ott, one of several members of a St. Louis-based operating engineers union who attended the rally, said that it's important for organized labor to remind lawmakers of union members' contributions.

Ott, 51, of Brazito, said he has worked several places where illegal immigrants have also worked. He said that his frustration is with employers who save money by hiring illegal immigrants and paying lower wages.

"It should come under the employers to prove the person has come here legally," he said. "The person who's come here illegally, they're just trying to better themselves."

Both the House and Senate have passed versions of legislation cracking down on illegal immigration. But there has been disagreement about whether employers should have to use the federal E-Verify database to check their workers' immigration status.

In the Senate bill, businesses wouldn't have to use E-Verify, but if they don't and are caught knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant, they could lose their business licenses. Under the bill, businesses found unknowingly employing an illegal immigrant would need to fire the worker and begin using the database.

The House has yet to debate on the floor any legislation punishing employers.

Throughout today's rally, Democratic and Republican lawmakers stood on the Capitol's steps. But only Democrats spoke, and some criticized Republican politicians and the policies they have supported.

"We continue to need to take days off work to tell our elected officials, 'Leave us alone, and we will build a better Missouri,'" said Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis.

Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is running for governor, pledged to represent organized labor's interests, including on illegal immigration.

The tone of his speech was much like that at a campaign rally. Nixon, several times, mentioned that he's seeking a new job and asked for union members' help in moving from the state building that houses the attorney general to the state Capitol, which includes the governor's office.

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Glen McGlone April 22, 2008 | 10:53 p.m.

ILLEGALS, ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS, and ILLEGAL UNIONS should all receive HEAVY Fines and Felony Jail Time if they conspire to have ILLEGALS take the jobs of United States Citizens.

They will continue to hire from outside of the United States NO matter how many Citizens are AVAILABLE because the NON-Citizens are initially easier for the ILLEGAL EMPLOYER and the UNION to control. Just remember "My Friends" follow the money always the money!

(Report Comment)
john buck December 11, 2008 | 1:15 p.m.

as a former union organizer for n.y.c,nj,del ican tell you there is a concerted effort by union leaders to actively recruit illegal workers and merge locals into large superlocals in an effort to silence american union workers rank and question at the afl-cio bldg was are we trying to protect them or replace them?can anyone say north american union? John Buck formerly of laborers eastern region organizing fund 104 interchange plaza monroe n.j.

(Report Comment)
john buck December 22, 2008 | 10:16 p.m.

local 1030 north bergen nj,asbestos union is staffed by nearly 70% illegal aliens and are doing state and federal work.whoose ssn#s are they using?hey dude where's my government?wher is the outrage?

(Report Comment)
john buck December 30, 2008 | 2:13 a.m.

as I said before all this is my informed opinion especially local 1030 north bergen nj.But they refuse to e-verify don't they?Follow my train of thought.The laborers union has been under justice dept.recievership.The laborers union has been actively recriuting and staffing union halls nationwide with illegal workers.This constitutes an ongoing criminal enterprise.This,I believe is a R.I.C.O. case.I've tried DHS no answers there.I believe my fellow American workers HAVE NO IDEA this is going on.I think a case should be brought forth on behalf of all the American workers .e-mail me at's make sure this travisty sees the light of day

(Report Comment)

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