UNITE HERE Condems ICE Raids Targeting Central American Women and Children

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2016
Ramiro S. Fúnez
UNITE HERE Condemns ICE Raids Targeting Central American Women and Children

LOS ANGELES, CA— Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Monday that ICE officials detained 121 adults and children in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina over New Year’s weekend, all of whom are in the process of being repatriated. In response, UNITE HERE, a union of 270,000 hospitality workers across the U.S. and Canada, joins immigrant advocacy groups nationwide in denouncing the ongoing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation raids directed at refugees from Central America. 

“These raids are irrational and inhumane because vulnerable refugees fleeing violence in their home countries are being treated as criminals rather than as victims,” says Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights, and Diversity. “President Obama and his administration should be ashamed for giving ICE a green light to separate and imprison women and children—a practice he claims to be against. Instead, he is only adding to the climate of fear that has been stirred by Trump and other Republican zealots.”
Since 2014, hundreds of thousands of undocumented refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have entered the United States. Those fleeing Central America have cited violence and poverty as the primary reasons for their emigration. Consequently, ICE officials have sent refugee families to detention centers across the country, resulting in the mass separation of mothers from their children. Moreover, many who have entered the country within the last two years have received inadequate access to legal representation and humanitarian relief. Thousands more are expected to be detained and deported throughout the year. 
In recent months, UNITE HERE has led a campaign against ICE officials for unjust raids on immigrant workers and their families, in response to arrests and firings of unionized immigrant workers at a meatpacking plant in Mundelein, IL. 
“We need ICE out of the workplace and out of our homes,” says Durazo. “Labor leaders, immigrant rights activists and immigrants themselves must come together and demand that President Obama put an immediate end to these unjust attacks on hardworking immigrants and their families.” 

Recap: “We Want You Here” Immigration Forum in Santa Cruz

On Wednesday November 11, 2015, students, immigration professionals, and Unite HERE Local 483 collaborated to bring invaluable immigration resources to the community of Santa Cruz as part of the We Want You HERE immigration campaign.

From 4 pm to 8 pm the public was able to join the free Immigration Forum to listen, engage, and pose anonymous questions to the immigration attorneys and legal representative. The topics discussed during the forum were Deferred Action of Childhood Arivals (DACA), pathways to Citizenship and requirements, and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Other topics discussed were history of immigration law, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), different visas and their requirements, as well as answers to hypothetical scenarios.

Immigration Forum in Santa Cruz, Ca.

Immigration Forum in Santa Cruz, Ca. Nov. 11

A huge thank you to the panelist who participated: Paz Padilla from Catholic Charities in Santa Cruz, Patricia Miranda from Miranda, Magden, & Miranda Law Firm, and Mike Mehr from the Law Offices of Michael K. Mehr.

Aquarium Food Service Workers Approve Union Contract

After months of discussions and actions, employees in the restaurant and cafe at the Monterey Bay Aquarium voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new agreement with their employer, S.S.A.

S.S.A., a food service company, took over the operation of the Aquarium food services in February 2015.

The contract ratification vote, held Wednesday September 9th, was 92% YES! The Aquarium Cafe and Cindy’s Restaurant workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 483.
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The new 4-year contract agreement calls for Back Pay (dating back to April, 2015), wage hikes of +$2.00 an hour throughout the contract term, substantially lowers the amount that employees contribute toward their health insurance costs, improves paid vacations, holidays, and sick leave!

Cynthia Corres, a 10 year cashier and barista said, “Building our Union Committee was the key to obtaining all the improvements in our contracts. Our new agreement means a lot for our families. The union works because we do. It was a great job by all my co-workers.”

UNITE HERE Local 483 represents over 1300 Hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area.

Wage Increases Due

Non-tipped union members will see their wages increase this Oct. The increase will be of an additional 45¢ per hour! This amount applies to a majority of our members who work at the following locations:

  • Hillands Inn
  • The Hilton Garden Inn
  • Asilomar Conference Grounds
  • The Hyatt Regency

Other hotels will also see an increase to their wages but at a different amounts and on different dates.

The current rate for our insurance paid by the company is $7.09 per hour, while the company’s contribution to pension is 72¢ per hour.

Local 483 Upcoming Negotiations

For the next few months, Unite HERE Local 483 will be heading into contract negotiations in the months of September, October and December.

In September, the Monterey Beach Resort who has a new management company, Commune, will be going into contract negotiations. The popular beach resort has about 90 union members at this point.

October not only brings Halloween spirit, but it also ignites union spirit for the California State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB) food service workers in the Dinning Commons, the Otter Express, and Monte’s Restaurant. The food service workers who prepare meals for not just the students, but also for the guests, staff and faculty, will be meeting with the operator Sodexo, to obtain a new agreement for the 50 employees.

In December, the Pine Inn hotel in Carmel will be in negotiations as we head into the new year of 2016. Currently, the hotel employs about 25 Local 483 union members.

Local 483 Marches in San Francisco’s 2015 Pride Parade

Some of our members at the San Francisco Pride Parade

Some of our members at the San Francisco Pride Parade

WORK IT! #EndJobDiscrimination

WORK IT! #EndJobDiscrimination

UNITE HERE! and WORK IT to #EndJobDiscrimination

UNITE HERE! and WORK IT to #EndJobDiscrimination

UNITE HERE Local 483 supports change!

UNITE HERE Local 483 supports change!

Aqui Estamos y No Nos Vamos!

Aqui Estamos y No Nos Vamos!

Locals from all over the bay area united and marched in San Francisco’s Pride Parade. We were joined by many of our members, our staff, and our student interns. The parade was a total success and enjoyed by everyone who attended and kept us company. We wore shirts that read “Work it! End job discrimination”. We marched and performed some of our chants.