Becoming an American with the help of the AFL-CIO

From the AFL-CIO

At the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, delegates unanimously passed a resolution encouraging an active drive to help naturalize some 9.3 million people currently eligible to apply for citizenship, saying it would “provide concrete worker protections, expand and diversify the electorate, and help us build power to win the sweeping changes that working people expect and deserve.”

Less than two years later, the Texas AFL-CIO and the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign are using the broad reach of the labor movement to help aspiring Americans realize their dreams.

At a naturalization ceremony in San Antonio yesterday, Raquel officially became an American. She is one of the first beneficiaries of the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign, a partnership of the Texas AFL-CIO and nearly 20 unions.

The campaign began in August 2018, and so far nearly 350 workers have been helped with the process of becoming U.S. citizens.

The Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign has held more than two dozen union-led informational sessions, trainings and clinics to educate eligible union members and their families about the requirements, process and cost associated with applying for citizenship. In addition, applicants receive assistance from immigration attorneys and nearly 275 union-recruited volunteers.

There are 1.1 million Texans eligible to apply for citizenship—the largest in the United States.

 “This is a long-term project with broad goals, not something that aims at a single issue or specific election. The benefits of citizenship drives will be lasting. We are engaging unions, building strong bonds with community activists, bringing informed voices into the political dialogue and engaging in solidarity with working people who too often do not benefit from the labor rights our movement has achieved.” —Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay on the launch of the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign.

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Posted In: From AFL-CIO, Union Matters

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work