By NYC CLC
On Wednesday, ICE carried out what is believed to be the largest immigration raid in decades when they detained 680 workers at seven poultry plants in Morton, Mississippi. The workers, many of them members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), were employed by a company called Koch Foods Inc, which employs 13,000 workers throughout the US.
“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.”
In 2018, following a nearly eight-year-long legal battle, Koch Foods Inc. agreed to a $3.75 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The lawsuit alleged that Koch Foods Inc supervisors engaged in both racial and sexual harassment of Latina workers at its Morton plant, touching and/or making sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hitting Hispanic employees, and charging many of them money for normal everyday work activities. Many immigrants rights advocates have speculated that workers are targeted for raids after their facilities get investigated for worker abuse.
“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,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “These UFCW members 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.”