Special Report: Why Unions Promote Mass Immigration

Special Report coverIn June 2006, NLPC released a special report titled Why Unions Promote Mass Immigration by Dr. Carl F. Horowitz, director of NLPC’s Organized Labor Accountability Project. Click here or on the image at right to download a 20-page pdf of the Special Report.

Unions, argues the NLPC report, form one part of an interest-group triumvirate that consistently acts to thwart real immigration reform. The other two elements are big business and ethnic politicians. Each has cultivated a working relationship with the other. Congress and the successive presidential administrations listen to them more than the American people.
Horowitz said, “Unions want to expand their ranks, and by extension their pot of dues. Immigrants, the more the better, serve this purpose. Less than 8 percent of all private-sector employees now belong to a union, down from more than 30 percent a half-century ago. In their mind, membership means more clout.”

Horowitz continued, “Union leaders aren’t willing to make any distinction between illegal and legal immigrants. They believe that anyone who is here has a right to be here. That’s the whole idea of an amnesty. Yet it is doubtful labor’s interests would be well served.”

“Even if certain unions manage to boost their ranks as a result of amnesty, that won’t necessarily translate into collective-bargaining strength,” said Horowitz. 

The report details how from the early 1920s until the early 1980s, unions were adamantly opposed to high levels of immigration. They knew their ability to negotiate the best wages and benefits for their members would be hampered. That’s why American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers supported Congress’s 1924 enactment of immigration national-origin quotas.

The arrangement worked, too, as unions grew in size and strength. But in 1965 Congress ended the system, and made family reunification the main basis for entry. Intentionally or not, that set in motion many other aspects of our current policy, boosting legal immigration, and with it, illegal immigration.