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Thursday, August 02, 2007

O'Fallon vs. Illegals on Construction Sites

A few weeks ago, in discussing illegal immigrants, I wondered why unions weren't being more vocal about the problem since, quite often, those illegals are taking jobs at sub-union wages and being exploited in ways similar to those that led to the beginnings of the union movement a century ago.

The Carpenters Union here is upset about those jobs being lost, and has pressured the city of O'Fallon, Missouri, to do something about a construction site (partially funded by tax dollars) which has allegedly been employing a couple dozen illegals. The developer claims that all of his workers provided social security numbers, and that verification of their legal status is a job for the feds, not for his company.

Yesterday on my show, I talked this over with Bob Lowery, city administrator of O'Fallon, and Terry Nelson, head of the Carpenters Union. We talked about what an employer's responsibility is in regard to checking that work status and whether some of these workers are being paid off the books and in cash to keep the problem quiet.

The most stunning part of our conversation came towards the end, when I asked Bob what happened when the city reported these violations to agents at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Even after they had uncovered people on these sites who were smuggling more illegals in from Mexico, the feds essentially told him that they wouldn't do anything about it.