On June 20, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a Fresh Mark meat-processing plant in Ohio, detaining 146 workers represented by UNI-affiliate the RWDSU. These men and women were separated from their families, and now, they may face criminal charges or deportation from the United States.
ICE has conducted similar raids in recent months, including detaining 97 workers in another meatpacking plant in Morristown, Tenn. The agency is reportedly doubling the number of these inhumane workplace roundups.
At its World Congress in Liverpool last week, UNI Global Union unanimously passed an emergency solidarity resolution in support of Fresh Mark workers.
Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said:
“The Trump Administration’s immigration raid at Fresh Mark is a heart-breaking assault against 146 hard-working immigrant families in Ohio. It is yet another example of using racist, anti-worker policies to spread fear on the job and terrorise immigrant communities, forcing them into the shadows.
“Many of these workers have been living in the US—and paying taxes—for decades. It is a classic example of scapegoating immigrant workers in order to avoid taking responsibility to ensure safe jobs and decent wages for all.
“This problem is not limited to Ohio or even the United States. We stand in solidarity with the Fresh Mark workers and the RWDSU, and we support the global struggle for rights and fair treatment for all migrant workers.”
In the hours after the raid, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) responded:
“We are outraged by the actions of Donald Trump. 146 people couldn’t go home to their families last night, and their children were left on their own to fend for themselves – that is unconscionable. Yesterday, Donald Trump sent in ICE agents to separate hard working immigrant families in an egregious show of force. Our union is a union of hard working people, which includes immigrants; and we stand with all immigrant workers, who are trying to support their families and better their lives. Our union will not stand for violence against immigrants; we will not stand for tearing families apart and we will not stand for the terrifying tactics of the Trump Administration. The RWDSU is committed to assisting workers affected by this ICE raid and will continue to fight against any and all heartless attacks on immigrant workers seeking to provide for their families.”