I am President of AFGE Local 2463 representing all the Smithsonian Museums, Research Centers, National Zoo as well as the Kennedy Center. My membership is faced with a government shutdown while the political games continue between the Republicans and the Democrats.
The Democratic Party has forgotten its roots and which groups actually built the Democratic Party. They have taken for granted the union members, the working poor and the African American Community who have marched to the polls and pulled the lever for the Democrats.
Construction sites used to be filled with high paying Union members building housing for Americans. Now you would be lucky to find a union member on one of these sites due to illegal immigration.
According to web site On the Issues, President Kennedy wrote, “Those who were opposed to all immigration and all ‘foreigners’ were joined by those who believed sincerely, and with some basis in fact, that America’s capacity to absorb immigration was limited.”
Kennedy’s stance is understandable, for in 1958, he was courting liberals and intellectuals in a bid for the presidency. And the political forebears of those liberals were progressives who had joined African American leaders and union leaders in seeking to halt the waves of immigrant labor that were depressing wages and taking jobs from our native-born, both black and white.
The headline in a 2017 article by Natalie Kitroeff in the LA Times read Immigrants flooded California construction. Worker pay sank. Here’s why. ”Construction in Los Angeles has shifted from a heavily unionized labor force that was two-thirds white to a largely non-union one that is 70% Latino and heavily immigrant.”
Where did the author, Natalie Kitroeff, get the data for her article? It came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I only bring up these facts to demonstrate that the Democrats in DC have forsaken their base for possible votes by illegal immigrants down the political road. How else can they explain their refusal to even put forth some funds for the wall when they know that it will be at the cost of this Union’s employees going forth without a paycheck to pay their landlord or utilities? They have taken us for granted and I say that it is time to remind them who brought them to the dance.
Everyone in Washington throws out slogans like “reaching across the aisle,” or “compromise”, but the politicians only reach across the aisle when there is a special interest group with campaign donations.
It is time to stop holding federal employees hostage in this political power game. Speaker Pelosi, while you were having a great time in Hawaii, our members were wondering how they were going to pay their rent and utilities. The Democrats say that they are for border security and compromise, then reach across that aisle and compromise.
I understand that President Trump will accept half of the money he requested for a wall or fence, so compromise and take it. Don’t convolute the issue by saying border experts say the wall is worthless when the only experts on the union members of the Border Patrol who have made it clear that a wall or fence is a valuable and much needed tool.
The band is playing their last song and your dancing partner, (the Union) is getting ready to look for a different dance partner who is more in tune with their dance moves.
David Hendrick is the president of AFGE Local 2463 and works at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum as a restoration shop chemist.
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