This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided Koch Foods in Mississippi this week, arresting more than 680 people. Workers in the plant are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
UFCW has been working with community and legal groups to mobilize support for the workers. On Wednesday, the union denounced the raid, “Our top priority right now is to provide whatever assistance and counsel we can to any of our impacted members and their families,” said UFCW spokesperson Abraham White. “Workers across this country are too scared to stand up for their rights and to report wage theft, dangerous work conditions, and other workplace issues. We must act now to end this dangerous climate of fear”
The UFCW has previously represented workers in its plant targeted by raids. Already, the UFCW has been meeting with local immigrants activists in Mississippi to coordinate a strategy to respond to the raid.
AFL-CIO released the following statement from President Richard Trumka on the recent workplace immigration raids in Mississippi:
“In an act designed to spread fear and cater to some of the most divisive forces in our nation, the U.S. government came into our workplaces to arrest people whose only crime is working hard for a better life. These members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) put food on America’s table, laboring in dangerous conditions and sacrificing for their families and our communities. We condemn these raids in the strongest possible terms and pledge our full support to the UFCW and the working people of Mississippi as they work to win justice for all those who were unfairly targeted.”
International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa also made a statement in support of the workers:
“The Teamsters Union is speaking up in support of hardworking union members and their right to a fair and secure workplace,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “The assault on workers must stop now. We want UFCW members and all our brothers and sisters in the labor movement to know that we support you. Our strength is in our unity, and we are calling for an end to policies that hurt workers and tear families apart . . . An attack on any one worker is an attack on our shared goal of lifting up all workers in our country,” Hoffa said. “We need comprehensive immigration reform, but we also need humane policies that respect workers and their families.”