ACORN, SEIU unite for immigrant rights

CHICAGO – In the midst of record summer heat, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 880 joined together July 1 to stage a large protest in the Downtown Loop here against federal government plans to force countless numbers of decent and hardworking immigrants and residents out of work.

This year the Social Security Administration has sent out over 300,000 so-called “no match” cards to businesses, nearly three times the normal amount. These cards inform employers that there is no match for social security numbers provided by employees, forcing employers to let go of workers. Local 880 researcher Cory Maldin said he believes this affects the entire working class. “If immigrants are intimidated from working good jobs, then wages stay down,” Maldin said.

When the ACORN representatives, in town for their national convention, decided to join the protest, the issues were expanded to include predatory lending, education, health care, fair wages and immigration rights.

Local 880 also planned to speak out about the recent Illinois budget. Members of the local were due to receive a dollar an hour wage increase this year. However it was cut from the state budget due to lack of funds.

The members of Local 880 were counting on their raise to help lift them out of poverty. Many of these SEIU health care workers cannot even afford health care for themselves and, according to one member, some make as little as $7,000 a year.

When the ACORN representatives, in town for their national convention (see story page 3), and Local 880 hit the street, all Chicago’s high-powered elite police could do was stand back. Several of Chicago’s finest attempted to keep the protest from reaching its destination. However, quick-thinking organizers split the protest and marched in front of several key locations, including a local retail store, Gingiss Formalwear, that caved to the federal government’s scare tactics, but has agreed to negotiate with ACORN representatives

ACORN and SEIU work together throughout the nation, representing how progressive organizations can form alliances, to ensure our joint success.

The author can be reached at brandikishner@yahoo.com