As a former member of the UNC Chapel Hill Employee Forum, I remember well the constant stream of reports we would get about all kinds of employment irregularities in Housekeeping. The reports about sexual harrassment were particularly amazing -- to think that kind of behavior could be going on at Carolina is just so shameful.
It is frightening to stand up and speak the truth, sometimes. I admire Amanda Hulon for doing that now. I encourage all housekeepers who have experienced similar kinds of problems -- or other serious workplace issues -- to stand with her. Be respectful. Be strong. Be clear. Be honest.
It is reported that the Zuni people of New Mexico have a philosophy called the four-fold way. I think it applies in situations such as this. If all workers -- at ALL levels -- do this, the truth will win out. Here's what everyone needs to do:
Tell the truth without judgment or blame.
Stay open to the outcome.
Describing those who are against illegal immigration in the same breath with the KKK gives the impression that the former are in league with the latter. 'Tain't so.
You'd be surprised at the numbers of progressives who are not against immigration--heck, most all of us are immigrants here. Rather, they are against illegal immigration.
That doesn't make them supporters of the KKK, as the innuendo in your article suggests. In fact, some of them have family who are trying to immigrate legally and can't get in. Meanwhile, millions of illegals waltz across our border.... It frustrates these friends of mine.
I'm against illegal immigration because their willingness to work for a pittance makes it possible for employers to pay less than a living wage to people and thus supports a huge injustice that is visited not just upon the illegal immigrants, themselves, but upon those citizens who take similar jobs and, in the end, in terms of the costs to society, upon all of us.
Yes, *some* illegal immigrants become entrepreneurs. Most do not. Yes, most illegal immigrants contribute to the economy by working here. But, as you point out, their working does not provide them with the social mobility they had dreamed about. And I'm not sure it provides the rest of us with that much, in the end, either.
Studies have been done -- funded by those with an interest in having and providing financial services to cheap illegal labor -- showing that illegal immigrants contribute $XX million to the state's economy.
However, no one has yet told me how much our economy would be benefited if the jobs taken cheaply by illegals had been filled by citizens, instead, who would not have been sending some of their earnings back to their homelands, but keeping them right here. And no one has certainly ever told me how much our economy would be benefited if those jobs had been filled by citizens who were paid a living wage for doing them. What would the "trickle up" effect be, then?
I totally sympathize with those who want to come to this country. I think they are forward-thinking and brave individuals to even consider uprooting themselves and going to place where they don't know the language and the culture is very different.
That doesn't mean I think they're great folks for breaking the law and coming on in simply because they want to. When people do that on my personal property, it's called breaking and entering. It's not right. It's illegal.
If these people are *that* important to our economy, then let us change our immigration laws to admit them *legally*. That is to say, to admit people who *ask* to come here, legally. For those who have already come illegally--back they go! No amnesty...again. But for those who ask nicely and show a willingness to observe the laws...sure. And welcome!
The next hurdle is to make sure they make at least a living wage, once they get here.
My progresive friends and I would have no trouble with that.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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